Every year, major storms wreak destruction in different parts of the nation. Whether you are most at risk from hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms or polar vortexes, what can you do to protect your home from nature’s wrath?
Water, water everywhere
Water sustains life on earth, but water in the wrong place in your home is a calamity. So take these important steps to prevent water from penetrating your home.
- Keep your gutters clean. Accumulated leaves and twigs clogging your gutters cause rain runoff to spill over the edges instead of through your downspouts. The fascia boards on your home’s eaves get drenched and can eventually rot. Consider having gutter screens installed to reduce the need for cleaning.
- Water pooling against your home’s foundation can seep into your basement and cause the soil beneath the house to sink. To prevent these problems, attach a flexible conduit to the end of downspouts to carry runoff away from the base of the house. Install French drains near the foundation for the same purpose. Your lawn and planting beds around the foundation should slope away from the house.
- Have your roof inspected at the start of spring and fall. Undetected shingle or flashing damage allows water to penetrate during winter snows and springtime rains.
- Keep an eye on outside caulking around windows and the rubber weather stripping around exterior doors. Replace worn seals.
The wind beneath your eaves
High winds are another damaging force for which to prepare.
- Keep tree limbs clear of your roof. A limb crashing against your roof can cause expensive damage. Find a certified arborist tree service to protect your house and ensure your trees are healthy.
- When storms with high winds are forecast, bring outdoor furniture and portable grills into the garage or secure them with bungee cords to the deck or some other fixed object.
- Coastal building codes require hurricane straps inside attics, which provide extra anchoring of roof rafters. If you live in an area prone to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, it might be worth adding these straps. Balance the cost against the frequency of storm activity in your area.
- Purchase impact-proof doors and windows that can withstand flying debris.
Snow, ice and severe cold
- When severe winter weather is in the forecast, make sure to wrap exterior pipes in Styrofoam insulation tubes tied tight with zip ties. This includes piping for wells, even if the well equipment is enclosed in a shed. If temperatures drop into the low 20s for two or more days, add extra wrapping and place a heat lamp in the shed.
- Drip indoor faucets and open cabinet doors under sinks to allow heat to reach the plumbing.
- Since winter storms can cause power losses, consult with an electrician about integrating a generator for emergency power. Never operate a generator inside the house or garage because of the risk from carbon monoxide the engine will generate. Generators are also something to consider if you live in an area prone to tornadoes or hurricanes.
- To keep heavy snow and ice buildup from damaging shingles, use a snow roof rake to pull down the snowpack to only a few inches. But don’t rake completely down to the shingles, which could damage them.
Related – When a Storm Damages Your Home