In the past year, we’ve faced a global health crisis that has significantly impacted the world we live in. However, what many don’t realize is that we were already in the middle of another crisis before the pandemic- the environmental crisis.
Climate change has been a decades-long issue, with humanity being the major cause of the global environmental crisis we’re facing to this day. This is due to the numerous human activities like deforestation, the burning of fossil fuels, overpopulation, and overconsumption, which in turn produce greenhouse gases and waste, among other pollutants. The effects of this crisis are seen all across the world, with ice caps melting, sea levels rising, extreme heat, and droughts. And not only are its effects threatening us, our livelihood, and wildlife, but it also threatens the future of our whole planet.
While we make the slow journey towards rehabilitating our planet, it’s also important to know how to protect ourselves whenever a natural disaster caused by climate change occurs.
How Droughts Affect Your Home
Across the world, drought affects more people compared to any other natural disaster, with 55 million people affected by drought every year. This poses a hazard not only to your health, livestock, and crops but also to your home.
With nearly half of the United States currently affected by some level of drought that is also expected to get worse in the near future, it’s important to know how it affects our homes and what we can do to protect our property. For instance, if your area is going through a serious drought and your home is built on reactive clay soil, this could significantly impact your home. This is because reactive clay soil expands and contracts, depending on the weather condition outside. If the weather is cool and the soil is moist, the material expands. If it’s extremely hot, on the other hand, this can cause any moisture in the soil to quickly evaporate and cause it to shrink.
In turn, your house sinks, which can put immense pressure and even damage the foundations of your home. Just like droughts themselves, the signs that it’s affecting your home are gradual, and in most cases, you won’t notice them until it’s too late.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Home in Times of Drought
As they say, prevention is better than cure, and the same goes for protecting your home from droughts. Knowing the preventative measures to keep your house safe during both mild and extreme droughts will not only help you avoid any damages to your home but will also protect you and the rest of your household. The best preventative measure for drought protection is maintaining your property, from inspecting your home for any needed repairs or cleaning to avoiding lighting fires. Use these tips to help you prevent foundation damage to keep you and your household safe during a drought.
Inspect Your Home Regularly
The first step to protecting your home from the effects of drought is by inspecting your home often. If you spot anything that you find worrisome, take a photo that you can use for comparisons later on. If it looks minor, just keep an eye on them and observe if anything else happens. On the other hand, if you notice something more serious, it’s important to contact a professional before it causes serious damage that could end up costing you more later on.
Some of the signs of drought-induced damage in your home include:
- Sloping or sinking floors
- Bouncing floors
- Gaps between walls
- Cracks around your home
Clean Out Your Gutters
During a drought, gutters are likely one of the last things on your mind. However, they’re more important than you think. You never know when the weather might change, and since gutters are your home’s way of rerouting water, it’s important that you keep them clean in the event that it rains. This way, you won’t end up over saturating your soil with water and end up damaging the foundation.
Keep Foundation Moist
When you think about watering, your mind may immediately think of watering plants. While this is true, what many people don’t know is that your house’s foundation needs watering too. You can help prevent your foundation from sinking by keeping your soil’s moisture at a normal level. You can do this by watering the ground and using a soaker hose around your house to keep your soil nice and moist. If you’re constantly busy, you don’t need to worry, as this only needs to be done every week.
You can also consider adding mulch to the soil near your home’s foundation, allowing moisture to evaporate more slowly, reducing your frequency of having to water your foundation.
Give Your Fire Pit a Break
Since both the air and ground are extremely dry during droughts, lighting a fire can become dangerous fast. Give your fire pit a vacation during this time to avoid any accidental fires.
If you live in areas that experience drought often such as Texas, New Mexico, and California, it’s important to always stay prepared. Remember to conserve water, make sure your home doesn’t have any leaks, and most importantly, take preventative measures to keep your foundation from drying out and damaging your home.
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