A Oregon Home Inspector's guide to surviving the next 72 hours in Central Oregon.
Boy we’ve had some winter so far! Snowmagedon is now turning into The Big Melt. The streets are running like rivers in places and some additional buildings have succumbed to the heavy snow load this morning. Hopefully you removed the snow from your roof if needed. (I expect to see some snow related roof damage in Central Oregon home inspections this year) If you didn't remove your your snow yet, keep a very close eye on things, you may not be out of danger. What else can you do to protect your home over the next couple of days?
1. Keep clearing snow away from your house, or at least trench the snow piles so they can drain away from your home.
Snow packed next to your house is prone to draining into crawlspaces and basements as it melts. Also, if it’s in contact with your siding it can damage the siding or seep into the house. Ideally you would shovel the snow 3-5’ from your house all the way around. (Who else is tired of shoveling?) But, realistically the snow is heavy and wet so at least start digging trenches to get the water flowing away as soon as you can.
2. Gutter downspout water diverters
Make sure your down spouts are diverting water at least 4’ from your home successfully. You can purchase extensions for your downspouts, or get creative like I had to, and add a pipe or some other diversion extension on to your downspout. The important thing is to get the water flowing away from your foundation and doors and any other openings in your home. I often see wet crawl spaces during home inspections due to broken or poorly functioning downspouts
3. Keep the water out
If your crawlspace vents are close enough to the ground level that they could allow water to flow in, try and stop it using sandbags. Same goes for doors or other openings. If you don’t have access to sandbags some alternatives might be premix concrete bags or mortar mix bags if they’re sealed. These are paper bags and they will eventually harden but they’ll do the trick in a pinch. Sealed bags of dirt or potting soil, even kitty litter will work - if they're too light you may need to add water and reseal. Plastic sheeting held down by straw bales can work in some situations. Here are a list of sandbag filling stations.
(Note that the Redmond fire department has closed their sandbag station today because they are out of supplies. Don’t delay if you think you need sandbags.)
4. Sump Pumps - if you think you need one get one now!
Don’t let this turn out for you like the ice melt and snow rake shortages we had last week. If you have pooling, and/or are concerned about flooding get out there and get a sump pump as quickly as possible. Here is a link to the kind of pump that would be useful for basements and crawlspaces.
5. What to do if water gets into your crawlspace?
- Pump it out if there is standing water
- Remove vent covers and allow air to move through the space
- Use a fan or dehumidifier to remove the moisture
- The only warning I have is be careful about leaving your crawlspace vents open and using fans to move air through your crawlspace in the event of a temperature drop (like the one forecasted). You could freeze your pipes with additional cold air into your crawlspace or basement.
6. Clear your storm drains
This has been all over the news but therer are still a lot of hidden/plugged storm drains. Keep in mind that just because you cleared it yesterday - the slush will often replug the drains and you may need to clear them multiple times.
For the future...
Negative grade - and why it matters
If I’ve done a home inspection for you, or your client, I may have pointed out “negative grade” - areas where the soil slopes towards the house. This is usually something buyers and sellers don’t focus on too much. Well, it’s one of those things that doesn’t matter until it matters - and this is one of those times. Unfortunately working on it now probably isn’t practical. But, as the snow melts if you notice any sloping or water pooling next to your foundation make a note of it. As soon as the weather permits, get the dirt sloping consistently away from your home. This will help avoid future flooding which can lead to mold, rot, foundation damage and other issues. And it will help you in any future home inspection by keeping your crawlspace nice and dry.
Property tax relief for damaged properties
This is from an article on KTVZ "Oregon law includes a provision that allows property owners who experience a casualty loss due to an “act of God” or fire to apply for a reduction of property taxes. The proration of tax applies only to taxable structures or property – but not to items such as vehicles or residential personal items.” Read more about this property tax discount here.
Good luck, I hope you stay warm and dry!
(As always feel-free to call or email with questions. I am happy to answer them or point you in the right direction if I can.)
About your Bend Oregon Home Inspector
As a Central Oregon Home Inspector we are fully certified, licensed, bonded and insured. Our commitment to continuing education, in order to exceed customers expectations, keeps us constantly participating in industry conferences, seminars and classes to improve our Oregon Home Inspections. Lance has a lifetime of experience that he brings to every home inspection. Raised in a ranching family by Central Oregon natives, he can’t remember a time that he wasn't fixing, building, repairing or remodeling something. His decades of hands-on experience include knowledge in almost every aspect of construction including home building, remodeling, heavy construction, irrigation, even landscaping and more. Hero Home Inspector provides Oregon home inspection services for all of Central Oregon including Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Madras, Terrebonne, Prineville, Powell Butte and more.