We are approaching the peak of hurricane season, and that can only mean one thing: high winds, torrential rains and severe flooding. And these conditions are likely causing significant damage to your home, which isn’t surprising considering what your property is subject to. Hurricanes can produce flying debris and disrupt your electrical systems. In extreme situations, hurricanes can even damage the structure of your home, which may be beyond repair.
Unfortunately, hurricanes simply cannot be avoided if you live in an area where they are common. However, the good news is that there are steps you can take to lessen the impact of these tropical storms on your home. And when you consider the cost of potential repairs, these methods could save you a lot of money. Here are 8 ways to prepare your home for hurricane season.
1. Bring anything that moves inside
First, take a look outside your home to see what could potentially be picked up by high winds. Move anything that moves indoors, such as flower pots, patio furniture, and even the doghouse. The last thing you want is for one of them to hit a window at worst.
For anything that can’t be moved indoors, make sure it’s anchored well so it doesn’t become a problem. Use steel or another heavy wire and tie the loose items together, then secure them to the ground using a lashing ring. Keep in mind that there is never a 100% hurricane proof anchor, so always bring items inside if possible.
2. Cut trees and shrubs
Now that you’ve cleared the obvious debris, it’s time to examine any potential debris. Much hurricane damage comes from loose branches and foliage, so take a look at your trees and shrubs to inspect weak spots.
Cut off all small, weak branches using a pair of best pruner. Don’t forget to also check the strength of small trees – while they can easily be uprooted, these also have the potential to become flying debris. Reinforce them by staking them on the ground.
3. Invest in storm shutters
Now is the time to turn your attention to your home. Its most vulnerable points will be all openings, namely windows and doors. FEMA (opens in a new tab) recommends installing storm shutters on all windows for an added layer of protection. If storm shutters are out of your budget, you can also nail plywood to your windows for an economical solution.
FEMA goes on to say that all exterior doors must also have hurricane-proof properties, such as a deadbolt lock and a minimum of three hinges. These changes won’t be exactly cheap, but consider them an investment to avoid further damage.
It is also important to check the condition of your garage door. If the garage door has seen better days and seems loose, have it replaced or it could pose a serious hazard to your home.
4. Inspect your roof
While most of us will check doors and windows for security, many of us forget to consider the condition of the roof. If any shingles or cracks are missing, things could get worse during the high winds of a hurricane, leading to leaks and costly repairs.
The bank rate (opens in a new tab) says you should have your roof inspected before hurricane season. If repairs are needed, deal with them ahead of time, whether it’s sealing cracks or fixing loose tiles. You can also install hurricane clips to better protect your roof. These basically attach the roof truss or rafters to the walls to improve its strength.
5. Secure your shed
Back outside, remember that all dependencies, such as sheds, will need to be properly secured. Otherwise, it and everything in it could become a hazard. Seal all openings as much as possible and make sure they are firmly anchored to the ground and securely locked. Some recommend anchoring sheds by securing the structure to underground concrete. You can also use hurricane links as mentioned above.
If you have a swimming pool, be sure to remove the pool cover before the hurricane hits. It may seem like a good idea to leave the cover on, but it can easily be torn and even taken away in such conditions. Safety blankets are better weighted and more likely to withstand a hurricane, but even these can be damaged too easily, so just leave them on.
6. Invest in a generator
If you’ve ever experienced a hurricane, you probably know that you could lose energy afterwards. This can cause all sorts of problems – no light, no cooking and no heating, sometimes for days. But, if you invest in a home generator or a portable generator, you will have access to electricity until things are sorted out and your power is up and running again.
Keep in mind that depending on the type of generator you install, you may need access to fuel to run it. This means you may need to store fuel a safe distance from your home if you are not using a natural gas line. If you wonder if you’re buying a home generator, here are the pros and cons.
7. Gather supplies
You need to be prepared as much as your house, so it’s important that you gather supplies in advance to wait out the storm. This means plenty of non-perishable food and medical supplies as well as bottled water.
You need to fill your bathtub and sinks with water so that you are also ready in the event of a power outage. This way you always have access to it if you need to wash the dishes or flush the toilet.
8. Take out insurance
Unfortunately, even if you take every precaution, there is always a risk that your home could be damaged by a hurricane. For this reason, it is a good idea to take out the necessary insurance, just in case. If you already have a policy in place, review it to make sure it provides the coverage you need, such as flood insurance.
If you’re looking to lower your bills, also check out these 15 water-saving tips. And we have 7 things to know before buying solar panels if you are considering this change in your home. Plus, did you know that this is the cheapest time to do your laundry?