(LOS ANGELES Nov. 15, 2007) — As Southern California homeowners recover from Santa Ana winds from last month, and as winter looms, the Automobile Club of Southern California reminds homeowners that some roofs, gutters and home exteriors may have been damaged during recent storms and should be inspected before winter rains hits the region.
"Leaves and other debris blown about by the winds may have built up in rain gutters or roof seams and can block the flow of water when it rains. That water build-up can potentially trickle through small roof cracks and cause leaks inside the house," said Cortland Ray, vice president of claims. "If you clean up the debris before it rains, you can identify needed repairs early and minimize damage."
The Auto Club's affiliated insurance company, the fourth largest home insurer in the state, offers the following checklist to minimize exterior home damage and interior damage from leaks:
- Outside drains: Clear debris. Make sure that water drains away from the home's foundation.
- Rain gutters and downspouts: Clear debris, check for loose connections, and see that water drains away from the foundation. If it doesn't, consider installing downspout extensions to redirect the runoff.
- Roof: Remove debris. Look for shingles that are missing, damaged, or misaligned, particularly on the ridgeline. Carefully inspect flat roofs and areas where flat and pitched roofs intersect. Check for water stains around nails that haven't been caulked or sealed.
- Roof flashing: Make sure that flashing-the sheet metal used for waterproofing-has been installed around pipes, satellite dishes, air-conditioning ducts and heater pipes, bathroom and kitchen vents, dormers and vented ridges, turbines, telephone and cable lines, chimneys, and skylights.
- Metal vents or chimney coves: look for rusting.
- Exterior walls: Check for peeling paint or water damage on wooden surfaces. Look for cracks in masonry walls.
The Auto Club's affiliated Interinsurance Exchange has offered homeowners insurance since 1983 and provides a number of other personal insurance products such as auto, collector car, rental property, renters and umbrella insurance.