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7 Helpful Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

The Roof Is on Fire! 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

The Roof Is on Fire! 

It was our first big summer storm since our return to the jungle from San Miguel de Allende. The lightning came cracking down over our house like an arrow landing a bullseye, resulting in my jumping at least a foot into the air and one of our rooftop AC compressors catching on fire! 

Fortunately for me, I am married to a firefighter and knew that our family (and my nerves) were in good hands. Although it was a lightning bolt from the storm that caused the fire, the downpour is what extinguished it. Glass half full, no?

Thanks to ingenuity and the reuse and repurpose culture of Mexico, the wires were changed out and the AC unit spared! 

7 Helpful Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

The Power of Lightning!

Jungle storms can be powerful, messy and destructive. They are equally exciting, cleansing and replenishing—popping out dense, lush, canopies of green and a multitude of ecosystems that thrive inside of them—reminding one of the absolute  magnificence of Mother Nature.

The rainstorms also provide an opportunity to identify where exactly more silicone is needed inside the house, such as around the collection of leaking windows 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 (especially after back surgery!) and made us delay not in tending to this issue ASAP.

Keep a tall ladder and supply of silicone on hand!

The jungle wasted no time in welcoming us back and reminding us of the fortitude, sense of humor and determination one needs to both survive and thrive here. Yes, there are prices to pay for living in paradise folks!

The following 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico are based upon our own personal experiences from our seven years in country. I hope you find them useful and that they help you to maximize your enjoyment and minimize your frustrations.

1. High-Quality Roof Sealant

Ensuring that the roof of your home has been properly sealed and therefore protected against leaks and moisture intrusion should be a top priority. We learned the necessity of this the hard way when our San Pancho 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 a layer of paint would not remedy! Needless to say, the roof had never been sealed. 

Hire a reputable company to assess the roof’s condition and if needed, to powerwash it prior to putting on a quality sealant that has not been watered down.

7 Helpful Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

What a difference a powerwash can make! The Before and After in Progress!

There are various types of impermeabilizantes (sealants) available. Spending a bit more to ensure a quality result is well worth it. We went with an eco-friendly, waterproof one believing it best to have maximum protection considering the amount of rain we receive here on the coast of Nayarit. 

2. Air Conditioners Serviced

Have all AC’s serviced at least once every six months. The filters should be cleaned of mold/dust/debris and the electrical panels checked for any unwanted critters that can wreak havoc. Apparently electrical wires are a delicacy to geckos—ridding your AC’s of them is far easier than having to replace the entire unit, trust me.

3. Over-The-Bed Mosquito Nets

Screens on all doors and windows are not just a luxury but an absolute necessity lest you want to share your home with mosquitos, spiders, geckos, scorpions, iguanas and stray animals. Additionally, these over the bed mosquito nets  are must-haves and will allow for peaceful, uninterrupted sleep ( ie. no annoying buzzing in your ear!)

7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

Mosquito-Free Sleeping

4. Drain Covers

If you want to avoid golf ball-sized cockroaches and sewer smells, you’ll want to get some of these

The Roof Is on Fire! 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

5. Moisture Absorbing Bags & Room Dehumidifier

Jungle equals hot and humid for at least 6 months out of the year! Ventilate your home as much as possible unless you want  fur to grow on your clothes, shoes and other household items. Using these moisture absorbing bags inside closets and other closed spaces helps to absorb excess humidity and to protect your items from musty odors and mold. 

7 Helpful Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

 

These room dehumidifiers work really well too.


6. Polarity Tester for Electrical Outlets

Make sure your outlets are grounded and wired correctly with a polarity tester or hire a qualified electrician to do so.

 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

Just Say No To Electrical Fires!

7. Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you’ve been following us for any time, you know why we recommend carbon monoxide detectors for both home and travel safety. We recommend placing one in every bedroom and next to any gas-fueled appliances such as a stove, clothes dryer, hot water heater, fireplace and freestanding gas heater.

 7 Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives

These are our Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico.

Do you have any that you could add? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below. 

Saludos,

~Katie O’Grady

Reader Tips for House Maintenance in Mexico:

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 especially if you skip town. I highly recommend doing 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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About the author: Internationally-Acclaimed Author & Relocation Coach Katie O’Grady is a 4th generation San Diegan who together with her retired Firefighter hubby and their now 15-year-old twins immigrated to Mexico in 2012. Los O’Gradys in Mexico is InterNations Top Expat Mexico Blog and has been featured on various distinguished platforms including Elephant Journal, Yucatan Times, and Huffington Post. Seven years into their Mexico adventure, Katie and her family continue to embrace their reinvented, reinspired lives where tacos and fun are part of their daily round! If you are interested in learning about raising bilingual, bicultural, cross-border children and creating a life of design, feel free to contact Katie at [email protected] and on the following platforms: Facebook Instagram Pinterest

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Arturo October 2, 2016, 10:44 pm

    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.

    • Katie O'Grady October 3, 2016, 2:18 pm

      Absolutely Arturo, couldn’t agree more!
      Thank you for participating in this comment thread. Going to add it to the article itself and see how many total we can all come up with!
      Saludos,
      Katie 🙂

  • Margaret October 4, 2016, 9:28 am

    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… 😛

    • Katie O'Grady October 4, 2016, 9:54 am

      You are right on Margaret!
      Just say no to ants in the bed, yuck!
      I tell my kiddos this all the time—no food in the bedrooms, lest they want to be sharing them with multi-legged critters!
      Thanks for adding to the list of helpful tips!
      Cheers,
      Katie 🙂

  • Trevor Gregg October 5, 2017, 4:47 pm

    We brought a SkeeterVac down with us. It uses four methods to attract mosquitoes into the trap.
    It is also very effective for those nasty “noseeums”. The reason we do this instead of fogging with chemicals is twofold. The fogging chemicals are toxic and not even legal north of Mexico. Plus just as important we aren’t killing bees. If we have no bees…..we have no food.

    • Katie O'Grady October 5, 2017, 7:41 pm

      Hi Trevor & Carrie!
      Thank you so much for sharing this little tidbit! A very important one indeed, and I absolutely am on the same page with you about using non-toxic alternatives that do not disrupt our precious ecosystem.
      Time to look into a SkeeterVac!
      Saludos y un fuerte abrazo,
      Katie & Family

  • John Scherber March 11, 2018, 2:42 pm

    Drain all fountains & eliminate standing water during the rainy season to discourage mosquitos. San Miguel is serious about discouraging the spread of Dengue & regularly sends inspectors to check your fountains.

    • Katie O'Grady March 12, 2018, 9:41 am

      Thank you, John, for sharing this very important detail. I do remember the inspectors coming by our home several times throughout the year in Atascadero to check for standing water. And lots of spraying too at night.
      Saludos,
      Katie

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