It was our first big summer storm since our return to the jungle. The lightening came snapping down right on top of our house like an arrow landing its bullseye target, resulting in my jumping about three feet in the air and one of our AC rooftop compressors catching on fire!
Fortunate for me, I share a home with a fireman and knew that our family (and my nerves) were in good hands. The downpour helped to temper the situation as well.
Thanks to the ingenuity, reuse and repurpose mentality of Mexican culture, the compressor’s wires were changed out and the unit spared! Hard to believe, I know…fire and all.
Jungle storms can be unforgiving, messy and destructive. They are equally exciting, cleansing and replenishing—popping out those dense, lush canopies of green and the multitude of ecosystems that thrive inside of them—reminding you of the absolute power and magnificence of Mother Nature.
The downpours also provide you with an opportunity to identify where exactly you need to apply more silicone in the home, such as around the collection of leaking windows that are at the base of a 20-foot high boveda ceiling! Tall ladder anyone? Those first few falls on our slick marble floors were not so fun and made us delay not in tending to this issue ASAP.
The jungle wasted no time in welcoming us back and reminding us of the fortitude, sense of humor and determination one must possess to both survive and thrive here. Yes, there are prices to pay for living in paradise folks!
The following are some of my suggestions (based on good ol’ experience ) as to how to maximize your living experience in the tropics, whether you are renting or purchasing:
1. Roof Sealant
Make sure the roof of your home is properly sealed and therefore protected from leaks and moisture intrusion. We learned this the hard way when our 2012 rental grew large circular mold spores from the outside in after our first rainy season there. A disgusting and unsafe “inconvenience” to say the least and one that duct tape alone would not remedy.
We now know to always inquire about roof sealant when house hunting in the tropics.
Check to make sure that the 1) the roof has been sealed and that 2) the current sealant is not watered down, thinning or chipping off in areas. Hire a reputable company to assess its current condition.
There are various types of impermeabilizantes available based on durability and years of warranty. Spending a bit more to ensure a quality result is worth it. We went with a 20-year, eco-friendly one, believing it best to be over protected than under with the amount of rain we receive here in coastal Nayarit.
2. Air Conditioners
Have all AC’s serviced. The filters should be cleaned of mold/dust/debri and the electrical panels checked for unwanted critters that can wreak havoc. Apparently wires are a delicacy to geckos—ridding your AC’s of them is far easier than having to replace the unit!
Screens on all doors and windows are not a luxury but an absolute necessity for jungle living lest you want to share your home with mosquitos, geckos, iguanas and stray animals.
4. Bathroom Drain Covers
Think: golf ball-sized cockroaches. Trust me, you’ll want to use these.
Jungle, hot, humid….ventilate your home (i.e. closets and other closed spaces) as much as possible.
6. Check Outlets for Proper Polarity
Hire a qualified electrician to do this.
These are just six tips that come to mind and the very type of information I like to provide my clients with in the relocation consulting work I do…information relative to not only healthcare and educational options but also home maintenance tips—things that one learns via experience alone.
No doubt that there are many of my Los O’Gradys in Mexico Readers that can add their own helpful tips to this list. What are some of the things that you have experienced here in Mexico—whether coastal or inland—relative to house hunting and house maintenance that experience alone has taught you?
Please share them in the comments section below and I will gladly add them as a footnote to this article.
Cheers y Saludos,
Arturo: For the summer months it is highly recommended to put your clothes in airtight bags or vacuum sealed bags so that mold doesn’t grow in them specially if you skip town. I highly recommend to do this process with your shoes because if you don’t, the soles will disintegrate completely from the salty air and humidity.
Margaret: Keep all your food in the refrigerator, even if you wouldn’t normally, especially fruit. Clean up your kitchen messes as soon as possible to deter unwanted scavengers and never ever ever let your kids eat in the bed unless you want… ANTS ANTS EVERYWHERE! (And they bite). Even with screens and drain covers, if you leave food out they will find you… 😛
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