El Niño prep: Sandbag tips

A flooded road

Meteorologists across the country are calling this year's El Niño conditions "monstrous." Californians, as well as other Western seaboard residents will likely see heavy rainstorms that could bring an enormous amount of damage like flooding, leaks, mudslides and an increase of car accidents.

Whether you're a pro or a first-timer at battening down the hatches, here are 5 sandbag tips to help keep your home safe during the storm.

  1. Sandbags will not seal out water but they will help divert it away from your home and provide up to about 2 feet of protection.
  2. Most fire departments provide sandbags free-of-charge. Your city and county government should also have more information.
  3. It takes an average of 600 sandbags to cover a 100 foot section, 1-foot high.
  4. Lay sandbags with seams and bag mouths facing inwards, as this is where moisture enters the bags.
  5. Consider "pyramid style" protection if you need to create a wall higher than three layers. Place the sandbags to form a pyramid by alternating header courses (bags placed crosswise) and stretcher courses (bags placed lengthwise). Build the wall three times as wide as you need it to be high.

It's important to know that most home policies don't cover flooding and just a few inches of water damage can cost thousands.

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