Home inspection checklist: What exactly do you check for after a storm?

Mycah Hatfield Image
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
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You've seen the images of homes and businesses that have significant damage from Hurricane Nicholas and may be feeling fortunate that you walked away without any issues. But just because it's not something as obvious as a tree on your home, it doesn't mean you're out of the woods. ABC13's Mycah Hatfield explains what you can do to really inspect your home.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If your home is intact after a major storm such as Hurricane Nicholas, it doesn't necessarily mean you're in the clear.

A tree may not have fallen on your home or sustained any major noticeable damage in your house, but there's still some things you need to do.

Experts suggest you walk around your home looking for anything that is out of the ordinary.

READ ALSO: Hurricane Nicholas topples tree onto Houston mom's car after she walks away: 'Completely destroyed'

Here are a few specific items to check on:

First up, trees.

Nicholas may not have brought them down overnight, but it may have compromised their integrity.

Louis Flory, the owner of Ability Tree Experts, calls them "sleeper trees," and said they may come down with a light wind or average rain storm.

"If the ground is raised on one side or the other, that's a tell-tale sign," Flory said. "Another is if you walk around the base of your trees and your trees have shifted a lot, it's disturbed all those stabilizing roots, the tree trunk will be moving a lot."

Flory said a small tree that has been affected can possibly be saved using cabling, but a larger tree will have to come down.

"Once that root system has been jeopardized and it's lost their stabilizing roots [or] have lost their stability, their anchor in that soil, and they start losing that soil, it's more likely to become a potential problem," Flory said.

Next, check on your roof.

See if you have any shingles that may have popped up.

"You're looking for shadows," said Trent Barnes with Texas Inspection Services. "There's a little shadow and that's probably the beginning of what we call a nail pop. It's a nail underneath that shingle that has popped up and caused the shingle to cup."

Barnes suggests using binoculars to get a closer look at your roof. It is not advised to climb on your roof to see for yourself. That can be extremely dangerous.

Water can get under those raised shingles and get in your home. Barnes suggests doing a visual inspection inside your home for any water marks that may indicate there is a leak.

Also, be sure to inspect your siding and see if it's loose.

"Water will find a way in," Barnes said.

WATCH: Videos show impact of Nicholas on Houston-area communities

Next, check on your hot water heater flue pipe.

It is crucial that your flue pipe that goes from your water heater to the outside of your roof is connected properly. If not, Barnes said it can lead to carbon monoxide inside your home.

"The wind will grab that water heater flue pipe," Barnes explained. "That's why it's so important. It has to be secured to the attic rafters, because it will just blow on there. It comes through the roof and it will be kicked to the side. Next thing you know, 'Oh we are getting headaches in the house all the time and we don't know why.'"

He said it's especially important to check this if you have recently purchased a new home, water heater or roof.

For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Mycah Hatfield on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.