Preparing Your Home for El Niño

Preparing Your Home for El Niño

It’s time to clean out your gutters and board up your windows. Weather forecasters are predicting the return of El Niño. El Niño is a “super storm” that last wreaked havoc in 1997-98 causing over $500 million in damage. Weather forecasters are now predicting El Niño’s return this winter. 

In Los Angeles this means heavy and sporadic rain with extreme winds and a chance of flooding. It also means that it’s time to prepare your home from potential damage. It’s important to recognize that small problems now can turn into expensive repairs later. So, how do you prepare for El Niño this season?

The El Niño Check List

  • Inspect your roof. Most damage, sagging and aging can be seen from the ground. If you see anything suspicious, call a roofing professional to come inspect your home.
  • Clear your gutters. You never know what might have built up over the summer. Cleaning your gutters will prevent flooding and roof damage during the rainy season.
  • Inspect your home’s foundation. If you live on a slope, check retainment walls, patios, etc for cracks or slumping toward your home. Water build up can cause mudslides and property damage. 
  • Clean your yard. Now is a good time to clean your yard area for broken tree limbs, garden decorations, yard debris, etc. Anything that could get caught in the wind should be put away in preparation of the heavy winds.
  • Check for inclines draining towards your house. Fill in any uneven landscape to prevent water from flooding into your house. Yard drainage could lead to excess water buildup inside your home.
  • Prepare a survival kit. Set aside flash lights, batteries, first aid kits, water, extra food, etc in case of an emergency. Make sure each member of the household has their own survival kit and educate everyone on how to appropriately utilize it.
  • Have an exit strategy. If the storm gets bad or if flooding occurs you’ll need to get somewhere dry quick. Check ahead of time for local shelters or stay tuned to local stations for broadcasted evacuation plans. If it’s time to go, grab your survival kits and hit the road.
  • Don’t forget to prepare your pets as well. In case of an emergency, have a plan for your pets. Pick up extra food, litter.. or maybe even a rain jacket to keep your furry friend safe during El Niño.

Flood Insurance

Home owners insurance does not usually cover flood damage. That means you need to add it to your plan or go get a policy. Remember, most policies take 30 days to take effect. A flood insured home will protect your building and it’s contents for less than $500/month. Just add it for this year and than take it off your plan after the rainy season. 

Safety First

Most importantly, be safe. El Nino means heavy rainstorms and extreme winds. These conditions can make roads slippery, obstruct your vision or cause flooding. Remember, stay alert, check the weather and keep dry during this El Niño season. 

Matt Epstein is a top realtor in Sherman Oaks and Studio City. With over 25 years experience as a local realtor, Matt knows the ins-and-outs of San Fernando Valley culture, housing and living. Follow his blog for weekly news, real estate insight and beautiful homes.  He consistently ranks in the Diamond Circle at Berkshire Hathaway. Matt is considered in the top 1% of realtors nationwide.