I hope the damage to your home was not too severe after Hurricane Ike, and that your families are doing well. I just had my power come back on yesterday, and I wanted to do a quick post about some things that I am seeing and hearing before I have to go off to do some home inspections today.
Houston Fence Companies- I have heard from a few of these firms that there is now a one month lead time to have your fences repaired, because of the work load. There are some handyman or small contractors now coming into town who will do some of this work, but remember that people approaching you may be scamming you. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover some of this expense (remember you will have to pay your deductible, which is frequently close to the cost of the fence repair).
Power has only been restored to half of the city- many stores are operating on generator power, so they are not selling perishables. Where ever you see street lights working, you may find a fully powered store with items like milk, cheese, eggs, and meats. The estimates for some neighborhoods is not until early October for the return of power. In my neighborhood, the majority of homes have electricity, but there are many homes going without.
Debris from the yard- some people believe that it has to be on the street for the city to pick it up, but this is not the case. The right of way area is the space between your sidewalk and the street. All limbs and garbage bags placed there will be cleared by the city. Limbs in the street could block traffic.
Roof/Gutters- gutters do need to be cleaned and checked. I have been going on my neighbors roofs for the past week, and many people seemed to have forgotten about their gutters, so I have been cleaning them. I have branches stuck in vents. If these are blocked, it can cause problems inside the house, such as gas fumes backing up into the home from a water heater. You do not need to leave a fallen tree on your roof for the insurance to see it. Take a picture. If you are putting a tarp on your roof by nailing through it, remember to caulk (with roofing caulk) the spots where the nails were after removing the tarp. This is only if you are not getting an entirely new roof. The holes made by the nails can become entry points for rain.
Trees that need pruning- the utility companies are not going to come and prune your trees for you, or remove fallen trees from your home. They will clear/prune trees which have fallen on the power lines. I have seen large dangling limbs from trees close to homes. If you see this near your house, have a tree trimming company come out.
An explanation of the cables coming into your home- when I was out helping neighbors, I found that some people did not know how to tell the cables apart, so they did not know which cable was damaged. Here is a quick run down. Usually you will see three cables: a power line is the highest one up, and it has a steel cable with a black coated cable wrapped around it (the steel cable is for support, the black cable is your service entrance cable); a telephone cable goes to a box with a telephone symbol on it under you soffit- the cable is sort of flat, looking like two cables glued together with thin pale blue, red, white wires inside of it; cable television is a single round wire with one thick wire inside of it. If you see a wire down, hopefully this will help you determine who to call.
I will be back with more posts about the hurricane and its possible damage to your home in the coming days. Here is a post about checking your air conditioning from Clear the Air AC. Good Luck in your efforts.