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A little effort now can prevent water damage during hurricane season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Water damage mitigation prevents further water damage from damaging property and personal effects. The process can involve special equipment but it can also involve simple techniques to simply redirect water away from your biggest investment -- your home.

Before applying techniques or buying equipment, first identify the issue. For instance, after a big rainstorm is there water standing around the foundation of your house? Is there standing water touching your house? Do you have gutters? How long does the water sit before draining or percolating through the ground? Finally, does the ground dry out with time or is the area always wet or muddy?

Temporary standing water is often less expensive and easier to correct. Some simple mitigation steps like sloping or grading the soil and landscape away from your house could correct the issue. This could be accomplished with a shovel, rake and a level. Another option would be building a small berm around the perimeter of the foundation of your house is grade and fall is minimal.

If the problem is persistent, even well after the rain has ended then special techniques and equipment may be needed.

One of the questions asked was about gutters. If you do not have them installed, then this may be your first step and correcting the issue. If you do have gutters, simple and inexpensive steps like lengthening the distance of discharge from the downspouts could resolve the issue. The termination of the discharge should be at least 6 feet away from your foundation with some experts recommending 10 feet. This can be accomplished with a rigid or flexible pipe either above or below the surface.

If standing water is persistent then mitigation and correction could involve mechanical pumps and additional drainage. For extreme cases of standing water either around or below your home the addition of a sump pump with piping may be needed. If the property allows, this could terminate in a lower area tank or to a gravel drain. In these cases, a drainage and water mitigation specialist may be needed.

For short term flooding due to storms, even after the above work has been applied, other steps may be needed to keep water from entering your home through doors and thresholds.

First identify the lowest and highest entry and exit point. For instance, your front door may be higher in elevation than your backdoor. If this is not the case and each door is at the same level, identify the area with the least amount of water issues. This is now your entry and exit point. Keep it clear of debris. The remaining doors, French, sliding or otherwise should then be protected.

Start by sealing the seams and gaps along the bottom and the sides up to and above where the water may sit. For instance, using strong tape, seal the outside of the door along the bottom and up the sides to approximately 3 feet. If water levels accumulate, consider water-absorbing barriers or sandbags.

With afternoon showers and storms becoming common during summer afternoons, use these as a reminder to be proactive now instead of reactive when time is running our or water is running in your home.

Your neighborhood Ace Hardware stores have the tools and know-how to help you protect your biggest investment.


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