Last Updated on
With the monsoon season upon us, make sure that your home is prepped and secured for the rains and storms up ahead
The Philippines experiences only two distinct seasons (sunny and rainy), and as the summer season begins to wind down, torrential rainfall will again be experienced in the tropical country for the next few months. Ranging from scattered showers across the archipelago to what the Asian Disaster Reduction Center now says is an average of 20 typhoons each year for the Philippines, the wet season can cause quite serious damage to both homes and people’s health, making it important to be adequately prepared for the rains up ahead.
Check and Secure the Roof and Gutters
The roof is the part of your home that works heavily in protecting you from the elements. Coincidentally, it is also the costliest to repair. Since the roof is not regularly visited, it is important to give it a bi-yearly professional checkup to catch problems early and address them before they become bigger and more expensive. Keep in mind that this includes evaluating the ceiling from the inside as well.
Clean your roof gutters and ensure that they are structurally sound. They can get clogged with leaves and other debris, which can lead to overflowing and pooling of water that weigh down on the roof. Eventually some of this water will seep into the walls of the home. If not addressed early, this can lead to your property being damaged or degraded, and may even promote mold growth on your walls that can be toxic to people and pets.
Reinforce the Windows and Doors
The doors and windows are two of the most common points where rainwater enters your home. Make sure that these continue to close and open properly, and that they seal appropriately when shut. This not only helps keep you better protected from the outside, but also assists in the energy efficiency of your air-conditioning or thermostat that you use indoors.
There are a number of home-improvement specialists you can contact that can reinforce your doors and windows, or install brand new ones. While seemingly costly, this saves you from making possible mistakes by doing it on your own. Installing new and sturdier windows and doors not only protects your home from the elements, it increases your property’s value as well.
Ensure the Proper Flow of All Drains and Canals
While your area may not be prone to floods, an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure. Make sure all drains within and around your home are fully functional, without any blockages that can cause water to collect and result in extensive damage, become a physical hindrance, or turn into breeding grounds for insects and other parasites.
Even the most minimal repairs needed by the waterways should be rendered as soon as possible. A recurring scenario in water damage is that it starts small and becomes costly when not discovered and addressed at the onset (which it commonly isn’t).
Prepare for Flooding Nonetheless
Even if your home’s structure is reinforced and all associated drains and canals are free flowing, there are also elements out of your control that can still lead to your home being affected by a flood. As a precaution, it is best to arrange your home accordingly to lessen the danger to you and your family, as well as help keep most of your belongings salvageable, should there indeed be a flood.
Such adjustments include electronics and appliances being kept high from the floor and far from windows; gadgets and laptops stored in shelves or drawers that won’t be affected by water should it make its way indoors; and mounting your television if it hasn’t been already.
If your home sits on a lot or parcel of land, disaster-prevention experts also recommend preparing bags of sand that can be used to block or divert water from the property during heavy rains.
Make Sure There Are Zero Opportunities for Water to Stagnate
It is not just the adverse effects of the weather that should be addressed during the rainy season, but also the possibility of contracting dengue fever. According to the World Health Organization, the Philippines reported over 169,000 cases of dengue in 2015, a 59.5 percent increase from 2014. The virus is borne out of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, which successfully breeds in murky, stagnant water.
This is why stagnant water must always be eliminated whenever possible, even on days when it is not raining. Pails and watering cans must be stored turned over and kept indoors. Swimming pools, vases, plant pots, and similar items should be meticulously maintained. Hollowed out sections of places like the ground or trees must properly filled. Trash bins, especially those set outside, must always be promptly emptied.
Organize an Emergency Preparedness Kit
A house is not a home without you or your loved ones, so your safety and well-being are of the utmost importance during the rainy season. Be rain-ready along with your property by having an emergency preparedness kit handy, particularly during times of typhoons and other natural calamities.
A basic kit should include three gallons of potable water per person, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, a tool kit to open cans and turn off utilities, a flash light with extra batteries, and a whistle to signal for help. If storage space permits, this should also include wet wipes, mosquito repellent, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation, a battery-operated radio for news updates, and a working mobile phone with a lengthy battery life.
Insure Your Home
Property damage resulting from typhoons in the Philippines was reported to total around Php18 billion in 2015. While taking all possible physical precautions can be done, it is difficult to predict the damage that can be caused by a typhoon and how much the subsequent rebuilding and repairing would cost.
While you may have an existing home insurance already giving you peace of mind, it is important to check how extensive the coverage is. Most basic programs cover only fire or lightning-related incidents, while the more comprehensive home insurance packages are the ones that address property damage caused by acts of nature like typhoons and floods. Make sure that your insurance is the latter, as it is particularly necessary for homes having to endure the type of rain experienced in the country.
Main image via Shutterstock