Follow the Water: Prepare for Nashville’s Rainy Season

Nashville’s rainy season starts in October and ends in September. It’s always a good time to prepare. Joking aside, Middle Tennessee has many beautiful rivers, creeks and caves. Much of Nashville is built on limestone. All of this is a good context for understanding why we have such beautiful, green, lush landscapes, and why our ground is often saturated with water. Water, including groundwater, is the great equalizer.

When you first go to look at a new house keep an eye out for these things. And if you already own your house it would still be good to check on these things.

  • Are all your gutters and downspouts working and connected? Does water shoot over the side when it rains? Are seedlings poking out of the top of your gutter? This is so easy to fix but also easy to miss.
  • How is the foundation of the house built up or into the ground. Is dirt touching the walls or just the foundation?
  • If the house is on a hill or at the bottom of a hill, is there anything directing water around your house? Or does it look like the water would run down the hill and into the ground around the house?
  • Are there rain gardens nearby? Does it look like the water from the roofs or yards nearby is directed to them?
  • Is there a retention pond nearby? How close to the house is it? Retention ponds hold water until the ground and storm water system can absorb it. Mosquito eggs take 72 hours to hatch.
  • Is there any standing water around the yard? If the drainage system is set up properly water should be gone within 48 hours of rainfall.

Answering yes to these questions does not necessarily eliminate a house. It does give you areas to study. Dirt touching the exterior walls of a house might mean moisture and termites have already found their way in, or it might just need some good landscaping to prevent future problems. A french drain or swell might be all you need to redirect water around a foundation. Look for obvious problems and easy fixes, but also hire a good home inspector.

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