Better Business Bureau
When the Bay Area’s first downpour hit last weekend, I wasn’t prepared. I accidentally left my bedroom window open, and sure enough part of my bed and the possessions on my windowsill got soaked. Luckily, my lack of preparation could have turned out much worse.
Some people love the rain – its relaxing, refreshing, and begs for blankets, fires and time on the couch. However, if you aren’t prepared for rain, it can wreak havoc on your home. A leaky roof, clogged gutters, dangerous tree branches, a faulty heater and drafty windows are a much bigger headache once the rain starts, so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared before the next storm hits.
If you want to feel calm rather than panicked at the sound of raindrops, follow these five Better Business Bureau (BBB) tips to make sure your home is ready for rain:
1. Roof: Hot and dry weather can make your roof more vulnerable to leaks. To catch them before it’s too late, call a roofer to inspect your roof for trouble spots and fix existing leaks. In 2015, BBB received over 8,000 complaints about roofing companies nationwide. Many of these complaints were about shoddy work, issues with contracts, and poor customer service and refund policies, so make sure you find a roofer that you can trust. A great place to start is the BBB Accredited Business Directory at bbb.org. Here you can find Business Reviews of businesses that hold themselves to BBB’s high standards. They include details about the business’s location, services and reviews from past customers.
2. Gutters: It’s important to clean out your gutters in the beginning of fall and again after the first downpour. If you need professional help with your gutters, find an accredited contractor to check that they’re in good condition and tight against the roof. Visit bbb.org to find a contractor near you.
3. Yard: Your yard often suffers the most damage from a storm. Make sure that your yard drains correctly to avoid flooding and excess mud. Have your trees inspected to make sure they’re healthy and not a safety hazard and secure any fences or outdoor furniture. Some of this work requires an expert, but be careful if someone shows up at your door claiming that they just finished a job down the road and can give you a discount. Consumers have reported over 350 similar “home improvement” scams to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker) as of October 2016 and the results can be catastrophic. Reach out to a professional yourself, and make sure to do it before the rain hits. The BBB Accredited Business Directory at bbb.org can help you find a landscaper or arborist, and you can even use BBB Request a Quote to receive estimates from trustworthy businesses in just a few clicks.
4. Heater: If your house gets cold during the winter months, now is a great time to make sure your heater is working properly. BBB received over 11,200 complaints about heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) companies in 2015. These were mostly about incorrect charges, misleading estimates, and difficulties receiving refunds.
5. Windows & Doors: Make sure that your doors and windows are leak-proof, sealed and properly caulked. You should be able to handle a lot of this yourself. But, if you think you need new windows, now’s the time to look into it. There are a lot of window companies vying for your business, so start at bbb.org. Additionally, check out energy.gov for more information on how energy efficient windows and doors can save energy and reduce costs.