With climate change and global warming disrupting our planet’s weather patterns, scientists and experts have warned of possible prolonged dry spells during the first half of the year. In a tropical country like the Philippines, that means dealing with higher-than-usual temperatures and a dry season that not only affects the agricultural sector—especially water-intensive crops such as rice and corn—but could bring some serious damage to our homes.
According to Pagasa, the country’s weather bureau, there’s a 60 to 90 percent chance that the El Niño phenomenon would affect 47 provinces in Luzon and the Visayas in the first and second quarters of the year. Simply put, expect warmer temperatures and the onset of the rainy season to be delayed.
While this might not sound as bad for homeowners who have to deal with heavy rains, a prolonged dry spell could nonetheless have serious repercussions on both the interior and exterior portions of a house.
Here are a few parts of a home that warm weather could affect and what homeowners could do to prevent possible damages.
The roof is probably the most susceptible part of the house when it comes to heat damage. If your house has an attic, chances are it wasn’t built with exceptional airflow. That’s also the reason why an attic tends to be the hottest part of the house. During a warm dry season, when humidity builds up in the attic, the excess heat and moisture under the roof can quickly affect that part of the house. To address this problem, make sure your attic and roof have properly maintained ducts and ventilation.
Extremely warm temperatures can also affect your roof by expanding it and warping it, which could cause some cracks in it and make the roof more likely to leak. This also means that the roof’s structure could be weakened. To prevent this from happening, install vapor barriers so that moisture could be decreased. This also helps coat and seal the roof and protect it against harmful ultraviolet rays. Other measures would be to have a lighter colored roof instead and to have it regularly checked and maintained.
If your house has hardwood floors, these can be susceptible to warping during the warm season. Wood expands due to heat and humidity, which happens during the hotter months. Because wood absorbs moisture, the edges of the floorboards are often pushed upward to create an uneven surface. Although the moisture that accumulates in hardwood floors eventually dries up to allow wooden floors to return to their original shape, a prolonged humidity during the El Niño phenomenon could result in cracked floors and be permanently damaged.
To prevent this, install dehumidifiers throughout the house to regulate humidity levels. Dehumidifiers also help preserve the beauty of wooden floors. When cleaning wooden floors, use minimal water so that the evaporation process is lengthened during the warm months. That’s because the water on the wooden floor stays there longer and has more time being absorbed into the wooden floors.
Another part of the house that could be damaged during the warmer months is plumbing pipes, which, if they are not correctly sealed, could leak and even burst due to high water usage and pressure from garden hoses, swimming pools, sprinklers, and everyday use. Make sure you have a scheduled maintenance check on your plumbing pipes, particularly when it comes to checking the caulking and sealing of the pipes.
Excessive drying during the hotter months can cause major shifts in your home’s foundation, which can cause water lines to disconnect, rupture, or leak. To prevent this, make sure that the soil in your home is maintained and watered, especially during the dry season. If there are trees in your garden, their roots, which are in search of water, can damage the pipes if the ground is dry and if there’s moisture in a damaged pipe. The best way to avoid this is to keep larger trees a safe distance away from the house.
Because of the drying nature of heat, your home’s foundation could be in danger during the hotter months. The surrounding soil where your home’s foundation is laid is used as a continuous support system. When the ground is dry, the soil shrinks and moisture evaporates. This could cause the soil to separate and could potentially damage the foundation.
To prevent this, make sure that the moisture is consistent around your house’s foundation by installing a sprinkler system. Also, make sure there are no large trees near the house since trees draw up moisture through the ground and bring drought-like conditions in the area that surrounds the roots when moisture isn’t that plenty.
It pays to take preventive measures during the El Niño phenomenon to thwart possible threats to your home’s structural safety. Have a professional check on all possible vulnerabilities on your home during extreme weather conditions. During these prolonged dry months, make sure that the air flow and moisture in your house are consistent so that your home could be properly maintained and used for many more years to come.