The Roof Is on Fire!
It was our first big summer storm since our return to the jungle from San Miguel de Allende that acutely reminded us of the importance of house maintenance in Mexico. 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 powerful 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!
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.
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 House Maintenance in Mexico 101 Tips~Tried and True are based upon our own personal experiences from our eight years in country. I hope you find them useful and that they help you to maximize your enjoyment and minimize your frustrations while living in paradise!
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.
There are various types of impermeabilizantes (sealants) available. Spending a bit more to ensure a quality result is well worth it. We went with this one, 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.
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!)
4. Drain Covers
If you want to avoid golf ball-sized cockroaches and sewer smells, you’ll want to get some of these.
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.
These room dehumidifiers work really well too and you’ll be amazed when you go to empty the little water collection tank how much moisture it removed from the room!
Make sure your outlets are grounded and wired correctly with a polarity tester or hire a qualified electrician to do so.
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 any freestanding gas heater.
These are our House Maintenance in Mexico 101~Tried & True Tips.
Do you have any that you could add? If so, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
House Maintenance in Mexico 101 Tried & True Reader’s Tips:
Arturo: For the summer months it is highly recommended to put your clothes in airtight/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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