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Ways to Cope With Problems the Rain Leaves Behind

Has the rain left you with soggy carpet? A dripping ceiling? A cloudy pool? Squishy grass? Here are some suggestions for dealing with common household problems that arrived with the rain:

* Wet carpet: First, make sure no more water gets in. Unclog drains or conduits, use sandbags, dig a channel--do whatever is needed to divert the water.

Move all the furniture off the wet carpet and onto a dry spot elsewhere. If you can’t do that, wrap the legs of metal and wood furniture pieces with metal foil to prevent seeping dye from staining the carpet. You can remove the water yourself by using an industrial vacuum, but you may have problems later with bacteria such as mold and mildew. Remember that not just the carpet, but the pad and underlayment are probably also wet and need to dry out. You may be able to pull back the carpet to let these areas dry. Try checking back with your carpet installer for information specific to your situation. You may want to call in a professional cleaner, who will use a powerful water extractor, high-velocity air movers, apply disinfectant to the carpet and bring in a dehumidifier.

* Roofing: If your roof leaks, don’t bother to call a roofer while the rain is still coming down. A roof must be dry to be repaired. Before you go ahead with repairs, check back with the original roofer because it may still be under warranty. A reputable roofer will honor the guarantee made during installation.

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* Leaking ceiling: If you have an area where water is leaking into the house or garage, poke a nail hole through it to centralize the leak and keep weight from building up. Put a bucket under the leak to catch the water.

* Ceiling stains: When things dry out, you may have a stain on the ceiling. In many cases, particularly on “cottage cheese"-type ceilings, a bleaching agent can be used to remove the discoloration. With other ceiling materials, however, or with particularly resistant stains, the stained area must be repaired, sealed and repainted.

* Landscaping: Plants need to respire to live, and when they’re under water, they can’t. This isn’t a problem for a short time, but if your landscaping ends up being under water for a couple of days or more, you might want to think about renting a pump to remove the water. When the rain departs, stay off soggy lawns until they aren’t spongy--which could take 10 days or more.

* Over-full pool: In heavy rain, the water level in a pool will rise. If you want to drain off a bit, you may be able to attach a garden hose to the filter spigot and, by turning on the spigot and filter motor, lower the water level.

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* Cloudy pool: The water in the pool may become cloudy because of the alteration of the chemical balance caused by runoff. The solution: Use a chlorine “shock treatment,” one to two extra gallons of chlorine added to the pool water, and then filtered for four to six extra hours a day for two or three days. Keep retesting the pH balance until it’s in the optimum 7.2 to 7.8 range and the residual chlorine is at the proper one or two parts per million.

* Mud in pool: If there is dirt in the water or mud on the bottom of your pool, you can try to clean it with vacuuming and repeated filter cleanings. However, you may need to hire a professional to do the job, particularly if there is a significant amount of dirt. In the most severe cases, the pool may need to be drained, something you’ll definitely need expert advice on.

* Pool filter: Electrical problems with the pool filter motor may also be a concern. If you’re afraid the motor will short out, turn it off, but don’t do it at the motor. Turn it off at the pool circuit breaker, away from the dangerous combination of electricity and standing water. If you have turned off your pool’s electrical components during a heavy rain, wait until the electrical site is completely dry before turning it back on.

* Leaking windows: Leaking can be caused by clogged weep holes or improperly maintained window hardware. Weep holes are holes cut at the bottom of a window at the sill that allow water to drain away. Paint, dirt and other materials can plug these holes, causing water to pool and flow into the house. For newer windows that slide on tracks, make sure the tracks are clear of debris and the windows latch shut tightly.

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* Foundations: An intrusion of rainwater through the foundation can be caused by a high water table around the house and heat inside the house, which tends to draw water inside. There’s not much you can do about it immediately, but in the long term, you can address the problem by installing rain gutters and downspouts and by laying concrete around the foundation, which will cause the water to flow under the foundation and not into the house. Outdoor planters are sometimes responsible for giving water a path into the house at ground level. If so, they need to be properly lined and sealed.

Compiled by PATRICK MOTT


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