Hurricane Joaquin Preparation Tips
Hurricane Joaquin is headed our way and could turn into a category 4 hurricane by tomorrow. Although we don't know exactly how bad it will be, Hurricane Joaquin has the potential to be as devastating as Super-storm Sandy. It's time to start preparing for the worst!
Joaquin Strengthening; NJ on High Alert
With Joaquin approaching fast, we are expected to see heavy rains, high winds, flooding, power outages, etc. So, if you are still scrambling around trying to get hurricane-ready, call Gold Medal Service to make sure your home and family are safe.
These units provide power to your home even if the power goes out. Also, they run on natural gas, so you don’t have to worry about trips to the gas station as you would with a portable generator. After over a week without power, many homeowners have realized that a whole home generator is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity. Proper generator maintenance is important – have a professional service your backup generator once a year. Test it now before the hurricane hits. And NEVER operate a portable generator indoors! Generators produce carbon monoxide, a deadly gas, and also contain flammable fuels and high voltage.
Whether you have an older sump pump that just isn’t up to par, or you want to have a sump pump that will keep your basement dry even when the power goes out, we have a solution for you. We have both battery backup sump pumps that can last for hours without power, and water-powered sump pumps that can run completely without electricity to keep your basement dry when you need it most.
In addition to our interior systems, such as sump pumps, our exterior damage systems, such as graded landscaping and gutters, effectively prevent flooded basements. Even if you only have some small leaks, professional waterproofing can identify larger issues at hand and makes the necessary repairs to your foundation and structure to prevent further, more costly problems.
Hopefully, your basement doesn’t suffer from flooding, but if it does, Gold Medal has the experts and equipment to clean things up, including water extraction, drying, mold remediation, debris removal, and more. Call us for more details at (F:P:Sub:Phone}.
Remember all those gas station lines during Superstorm Sandy. Well, this time, a lot more gas stations will have backup generators. Take a look at this map and click here for a full list of NJ gas stations with backup generators:
A flooded basement can cost anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to tens of thousands. You may even end up with a weakened foundation which could affect your home's resale value. Prevention beats repair when it comes to basement flooding. By inspecting your basement now and taking care of other storm preparations, you'll drastically reduce the risk of damage from hurricanes and storms.
How to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Joaquin
Keep the humidity out. To reduce moisture and the risk of mold, purchase a dehumidifier for your home.
Check walls and foundation for leaks and cracks. Take some time to look for signs of water leakage on the walls and floors of your basement and around the perimeter of your home. For any gaps smaller than ¼ inch, use weatherproof caulk; for gaps larger than ¼ inch, use expandable foam spray. If your basement shows many signs of water damage, it may be a good time to invest in professional basement waterproofing.
Clean gutters and downspouts. If you haven't cleaned your gutters and downspouts recently, now is the time to do so. Clogged gutters and leaking downspouts can cause water to build up around your home, raising the risk of flooding.
Check window and doors for leaks. Check all of your windows for leaks, especially any that are in the basement. It's possible that wooden frames have rotted and need repair. Consider replacing old, deteriorating windows with newer aluminum or vinyl, which are more effective and last longer.
Consider French drains. If the drainage around your house isn't very good, you could easily end up with water entering the basement during a storm. In this instance, you'll need to add drainage around the building. These French drains, as they're called, will help conduct water away from the building. Dig down just out from the foundation to a depth of about 1 foot then place broken tile or ceramic pipe at the bottom of your trench before putting the earth back. This will help keep your house secure from water.
Check your backup power. Follow the directions supplied with the generator carefully. Call a professional if it is not working.
Never operate a portable generator indoors! Generators produce a deadly gas, carbon monoxide, and contain flammable fuels and high voltage. Also make sure that your generator is away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow the CO gas to enter your home. Protect your portable generator with a canopy/tarp-like structure and never touch the generator with wet hands! If you need to refuel, always wait for the generator to cool off before doing so. Gasoline and a hot generator could lead to a fire.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Press the test buttons on all of your smoke and CO alarms and wait for the alarm. Make sure your smoke and CO alarms have fresh, working batteries.
Water and electricity don’t mix! Be on the lookout for downed wires. All downed wires could be “live” and can energize the surrounding ground up to 35 feet away. If you see a downed wire, call PSE&G at 800-436-7734. Also, do not enter a flooded basement, since outlets, wires, panels, and other electrical equipment could be underwater. Call a professional right away and stay away from all standing water if your home is flooded.
Check your sump pump. Sump pumps remove the water that accumulates around and under basements and crawl spaces by pumping it outside. This is important for homes on high water tables because if the water isn't removed, pressure builds around the foundation of your house which can lead to a basement flood. You should check your sump pump every six months and before all storms and hurricanes.
- Check to make sure power is running to the pump circuit.
- Pour enough water into the pump well for the pump to begin working.
- Check the outside pump pipe to ensure that water is flowing out from the discharge line outside your home. In some cases, the pump may run but not pump any water.
If you test the pump and it is not working properly:
- Check for debris blocking the suction intake.
- Listen for strange noises coming from the motor.
- Check for oil in the sump well (may indicate a failed pump seal).
- If the activating switch for the pump works on a float, check that the float is not restricted.
Gold Medal Service maintains, repairs, and installs the following:
- Backup and battery-operated sump pumps
- Submersible sump pumps
- Basement sump pumps
- Sewage ejector pumps
- Septic ejector pumps
Improve Water Drainage and Runoff!
- Make sure water is released onto a surface that will not simply soak up the water, like a paved driveway.
- You can connect plastic pipe extenders to your downspout and carry the water toward a storm drain or paved roadside.
- Consider using gutter guards to prevent leaves and other debris from blocking water flow.
- You may want to use a compacted earth berm, K-Rails, concrete blocks, or similar structures to help direct water runoff away from your home’s foundation and erodible surfaces.
- You may have an issue with proper grading. There should be a minimum slope of 1-2 feet for every 100 feet. Inspect your home for areas that collect water in depressions near your foundation and consider investing in a permanent solution.
- Some people manage runoff by diverting water into a cistern or rain barrel. If you do choose this method, make sure you have at least 2 rain barrels (at least 1000 liters) and that they have been installed correctly.
- If you have an eroding slope, you may have been advised to build a retaining wall. Just keep in mind, that if you are looking to make major changes in water runoff and diversion, always consult a qualified service provider.
- There are many options for homeowners when it comes to protecting your home from rainwater, including catch basins, channels drains, flow-wells, and pop-up emitters
The Red Cross has come up with a list of things to do in response to flooding:
- Listen to area radio and television stations and an NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS)
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice.
- When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
- Because standard homeowner's insurance doesn't cover flooding, it's important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.
If your area hasn't experienced flooding but is expected to, here are
some things to do in preparation:
- Unplug all appliances and cords from outlets to prevent power surges.
- If you wish to use a portable generator, have a licensed, trained electrician install it.
- Test your home's carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they're working properly.
Here’s some more advice for staying safe during a hurricane:
For more Atlantic hurricane season advice, read the NJ Office of Emergency Management's Hurricane and Tropical Storm Preparedness page.
Call Gold Medal Service for a professional and customized approach to basement waterproofing. We’ll keep your home nice and dry.
For more tips on defending your home against storms and hurricanes, read:
Give us a call today at (732) 365-3199 or schedule an appointment online! We're available 24/7 to solve all of your home service needs.