Here in Chicagoland, spring is a time for celebration. The ice and snow are gone and the temperatures are rising. It’s time for sunny days, cool nights — and lots and lots of rain.
In our area, the spring season comes in like a lion in March, and then brings plenty of those classic April showers. Whether you love the sound of rain on the rooftop, or you’d rather stay high and dry, it’s important to take steps to avoid letting spring rainfall turn into a problem for your Chicagoland property.
Have you gotten your home ready for April showers? Here are five ways to prevent flooding and keep your home safe from springtime downpours:
1.) Take Care of Your Gutter and Downspouts
During the rainy spring months, your gutters and spouts do a lot of work, helping catch rainwater and divert it away from your house. It’s important to make sure that your gutters and downspouts are in prime condition before the rainy season really sets in.
Check to make sure that your gutters are well-secured, and look for any leaky spots. Get any leaves and other debris that may have accumulated over the fall and winter months out of your gutters, to help prevent the troughs from overflowing. If you’re looking for a project, you may want to consider adding a gutter shield or screen, to help prevent debris from clogging your gutters in the future. Finally, check your downspouts and drainage, to make sure that water is flowing neatly away from your home. The more that water gushes directly downward, the higher the risk of water damage and leaks to your windows, walls, and foundation.
2.) Check Your Pump Systems
For countless households around Chicagoland, sump pumps and ejector pumps are the unsung heroes of the rainy season.
A sump pump is a system installed in a basement or crawl space, designed to collect and redirect groundwater, before it gets the chance to seep up and cause damage to your space. In essence, the sump pump allows groundwater to pool, and then safely pumps it out and away from your home. An ejector pump, meanwhile, collects sewage and wastewater in the lower levels of your home, and channels it upwards so it can drain safely, without posing a flood risk to your home. This is important in Chicago, where older sewage systems can sometimes back up during periods of heavy rainfall.
Before spring rain really starts coming down, test your sump pump and ejector pump, and consider having them serviced by an experienced professional. Best to treat any signs of trouble now, rather than waiting for these systems to fail right when you need them most.
3.) Look for Warning Signs of Leaks or Water Damage
Keeping an eye out for damage, leaks, and cracks should be high on your spring “to-do” list. After a frigid winter and a quick spring thaw, it’s important to make sure that all of your home’s barriers against the rain are really working.
Keep an eye out for water marks on the roof, under windows, and on exterior walls. Before the spring rains start in earnest, take some time to do a thorough walkthrough, and look for gaps, cracks, holes, and damage around problem areas, such as your windows and skylights, the foundation of your home, and the roof. You may wish to call in a professional to address any worrisome signs, such as a leak in the ceiling, a wide crack in your foundation, or loose shingles on the roof.
4.) Double-Check Your Drainage
Many properties are designed with flood prevention in mind. But over time, areas that were intended for drainage can start to lose some of their efficacy. Just as you should look for warning signs of leaks or flooding inside your home, be sure to talk a walk around outside, and look for any trouble with your property’s drainage.
For instance, you may want to take a look at your driveway or paved pathways, to look for cracks or damage. If the concrete elements outside your home are sending water toward your home’s foundation, instead of draining it away, you may want to call in a professional to see about updating or replacing them. Similarly, check for damage or pooling water in the low-lying areas around your foundation, to make sure that these spots won’t pose a long-term problem.
At the same time, consider trimming back tree limbs and tall shrubs, particularly those that are growing around your roofline, near your foundation, or close to your HVAC systems. Overgrown greenery can be a source for water to collect and trickle down into your home. Plus, if stems or branches break off during heavy rains, they could cause major damage.
5.) Be Ready to Protect Your Outdoor Areas
Plenty of people look forward to spring because it’s a great chance to work and play outdoors. Whether your passion is gardening, playing sports, or simply lounging outside with a good book, it’s important to make sure you take steps to keep your outdoor oasis in prime condition.
Invest in tarps or covers for your outdoor decor, such as furniture, grills, woodpiles, doghouses, and more. You may also want to have on hand a few ropes, sand bags, or other ways of keeping these outdoor elements secured during powerful storms.
Before major storms, you may want to bring some of your potted plants inside, so that they don’t flood or break in the heavy wind and rain. If you have a wooden deck or patio, you may also want to make sure that the sealant is up to date, to prevent warping, cracking, and flooding.
What Are You Looking For in a Home?
Do you want to find a space that allows you to relax and enjoy all that spring has to offer? Looking for something near the Lake? A home with enough room to put in that chicken coop you’ve always dreamed about? Whatever you’re looking for, Baird & Warner can help you find it.