6 Essential Ways to Prepare Your House For a Hurricane
If we've learned anything in 2017, it's that hurricane preparation should not be taken lightly. Whether they're downgraded to tropical storms or they're Category 5 superstorms, hurricanes can produce incredibly strong winds and torrential rainfall that can seriously damage your home. With megastorms like Harvey and Irma wreaking devastation, it's more important than ever to get your home ready for a hurricane.
Prepare Your Roof
Your roof can be one of the parts of your home that's most susceptible to damage, since its whole purpose is to protect the rest of your home. You should be inspecting your roof every year, but this is even more important in hurricane zones. Make sure your shingles are intact and free of damage and that there are none missing. You should also take the time to clear out your gutters and repair them if needed, otherwise you could risk flooding your home.
Trim Trees and Shrubs
It's not recommended that you do any trimming in the days before a hurricane. Often, your trash collection will be postponed, and branches and other debris present wind hazards. But for forward-planning, keep your trees and shrubs trimmed. Pay special attention to any limbs or branches that are close to your roof, as trimming them can help you avoid damage to it from high winds. Cut down any dying or damaged trees that are likely to come down in a hurricane.
Assess Your Insurance
Most homeowners think that having basic homeowners insurance has them covered, but unfortunately, that's not the case. Wind insurance is not included in most homeowners insurance policies, and flood insurance is definitely not included. You should purchase a separate wind policy, and you'll need to buy government-backed flood insurance. Homes within flood zones are required to have flood insurance, so make sure you know whether or not you're covered. Consider putting together a home inventory as well, so if your home is damaged during a hurricane, you know what items need to be replaced and at what cost.
Secure Outdoor Items
Patio furniture and outdoor living spaces can become hazardous in the event of a hurricane, and simply covering them with a rain cover isn't enough. Move any outdoor furniture, fire pits, and other outdoor items inside to prevent them from being blown around by the wind. Larger structures, like sheds and carports, can be secured to the ground.
Prepare Windows and Doors
If you've been dealing with drafty windows and doors for a while, now is the time to give them some attention. Minor cracks in windows and doors can let moisture into your home during a hurricane and can cause mold and other issues. Seal up any cracks around the frames with caulk, and consider additional protection for windows. You can purchase storm window covers made of plywood, which you attach to the outside of your window. This protects them from flying debris, rain, and high winds. Garage doors should also be braced, as wind can blow them inward and rip apart your home.
Know Your Power Sources
One of the most dangerous sources of potential damage actually comes from inside your home: electricity. Flooding and high winds can cause electrical surges, and if you lose power in your home, you'll risk being without light, air conditioning, hot water, and other essentials in the days and weeks following the storm. You can pick up a backup generator to use in the case of an outage, and you should educate yourself about turning off any gas or propane supplies you have throughout your home.