Let’s face it: your home is one of the largest investments. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you know how important it is to prepare for the worst. One tip for hurricane preparedness is keeping tabs on the warnings issued by the government. But there’s so much you can do than just staying informed – you should ensure all defenses are up to snuff. In this post, we’ll discuss tips on how to prepare your house for a hurricane.
Determine your risk
Hurricanes can bring tornados, heavy winds, flooding, etc. Therefore, you should not just assume that you’ll be hit by a hurricane if you live at the coast – the effect can be felt many miles inland.
The number one way of hurricane preparedness is determining the likelihood of a storm.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, you’re most likely to experience a hurricane if you live in Mississippi, Texas, Florida, or Louisiana. NOOA has tools to detect the danger zones and knows where the hurricane will occur.
Develop an execution plan
Another tip of hurricane preparedness is having an execution plan in place. You don’t want to scramble at the last minute when you see the hurricane heading your way. Experts recommend that you come up with an execution plan and inform the family members where you’ll be heading.
Understand your homeowner’s insurance
Imagine being hit by a hurricane, and you don’t have homeowners insurance. Standard home insurance covers flood and wind damage. So, if you’re in a hurricane-prone area you may want to buy additional coverage. In most cases, the insurance won’t take effect immediately, so you may want to understand the terms.
Inspect the roof
The roof is a vulnerable part of wind damage, so you should ensure it’s in pristine condition. But what exactly are looking for at the top of the roof? Check whether the shingles look brittle or loose – reseal if necessary.
If the shingles are showing any signs of wear, a professional can charge $0.25 to $1 per square foot. Also, you should inspect the gable ends and watch for signs of wear. If you see damaged shingles or leaks, you may want to replace the roof. Other signs of damaged roof include:
- Missing shingles
- Damaged shingles
- Bald spots
Most experts recommend that you install metal roof straps as a way of hurricane preparedness. If you’re looking for a long-term upgrade, you may want to upgrade to an impact-resistant roof. They are designed to withstand wind and hail damage but may cost about 20% more than traditional shingles. This is what you need if you want to lower your homeowner insurance premiums.
Finally, you should pay attention to the gutters. If they look damaged or clogged, you should have the theme checked before a storm. If your roof is still under warranty, timely repairs will make the warranty valid.
Doors and windows
The average speed of a hurricane is around 150 mph, so spraying glass is a major concern for windows. If you don’t emphasize the safety of your doors and windows, your home will be susceptible to flying debris. One key aspect of hurricane preparedness is investing in impact-resistant glass windows. They can withstand the high impact of winds, and they look great. If the strong winds come to your home, you can focus on your family instead of installing plywood on the unprotected glass.
Unlike an earthquake or a tornado, weather forecasts can predict the impact and strength of a hurricane. And with this kind of information, hurricane preparedness can protect the windows from flying debris.
How to board up windows for hurricanes
During the hurricane season, the price of most supplies will skyrocket due to high demand. Some of the key supplies in your hurricane preparedness include:
- Measuring tape
- Drill, nails, and screws
- Circular saw
With this in mind, you should head to the store once the storm is predicted. After you gather the supplies, you should follow the following steps.
Measure the plywood – you should use 5/8-inch plywood and add additional four inches on the side. After you know how much wood you need, you should protect the windows from being blown out.
Drill the holes on the plywood – the holes should be of the same diameter as the nails you’ll be using. The holes should be two inches from the edge with 12-inch intervals around each panel.
Mark the wood
You should howl the plywood against the windows you’ll be boarding up. And this is where you place the mounting screws. This is something you can do any time of the year.
Secure the boards
Once you’re ready to board up your home, you can use the marked panels to cover your home. Screw carefully and ensure that the boards are tight. Other short-term window upgrades for hurricane preparedness include:
- Any wind seepage inside your home can cause serious damage. You should think of windows as a point of vulnerability, and that’s why you should cross this off your list.
- Inspect the window seals – the seals on the windows can damage in drier climates. You should inspect the caulk around the window panels. You can even hold the candle near a window to see if there are any signs of wind movement.
- Shutter all the windows – the hurricane winds approach at a high speed, so you may want to keep the frames strong. The cost will depend on the material you want to choose – this can be somewhere between $ 70-300.
- Install heavy-duty bolts– if the doors need additional reinforcement, you should buy a bolt kit at your local store. They are easy to install and will keep the bottoms of the doors secure. This is a good defense against severe storms in your home. If that happens, the winds will tear your home apart.
Yard, Deck, and patio
Ensure the deck posts are secured
You should confirm the deck and porch posts are well secured. If they are not properly anchored, they can lift and damage the property. The cost to replace the deck will depend on the materials you use.
Bring ungrounded furniture inside
This is a key aspect of hurricane preparedness. Unless you don’t care about your expensive furniture, they are safe when you bring them inside. While that porch swing can withstand moderate weather, it can be blown away by the strong winds that come with a hurricane.
Trim the tree branches
Weather experts advise homeowners to trim the trees that are close to the house. You should focus on those close to the windows – it’s better you cut rather than take them from your living room. This is a must-do on your hurricane preparedness list.
Check for any signs of distress
You should go around the house and check for any signs of distress on the foundation.
Use sandbags for flooding
When a hurricane hits, flooding is inevitable. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce the impact of the damage – even a foot of water can reduce the damage. The surefire way to ensure that water doesn’t get in the house is using sandbags.
Depending on your jurisdiction, the local government can supply sandbags to homes before a hurricane strikes. The first place you should place the bag is on the front door. You can use duct tape to ensure it fits well. After that, put the next raw of bags over the gap such that the bricks overlap. This will give you some protection.
Secure patio furnishings
The peak speed of the wind that accompanies a hurricane at Coastal Florida is 142mph. While tying the objects on your patio may be a good idea, strong winds can easily rip the items away. And that’s why you should secure them as part of hurricane preparedness. Here is a checklist of the items you should secure:
- Potted plants
- Grills and propane tanks
- Garden hoses
- Pool equipment
Secure the fences and railing
If you want to secure your backyard, you should examine the railings. The loose railings, spindles, and boards should be secured by fasters. Avoid using rails as they may not withstand the strong winds. Instead, use strong screws designed for outdoor use.
Swimming pool precautions
There are many things you can do to protect your pool from the effects of a hurricane. While most people recommend that you drain the pool, this should not be the case. When you keep it full, you can protect the deck against falling debris. The smart approach for hurricane preparedness is draining the pool 1-2 feet when you prepare for a hurricane.
Staying safe is a priority in hurricane preparedness.
Learn where and how to turn off electricity
If you expect some flooding, you should unplug electrical devices and monitor the situation. Generally, the emergency officials will alert you when to turn off the circuit.
Use surge protectors
The surge protectors will keep valuable equipment in your home at bay. This can include gaming systems, TVs, refrigerators, etc. And depending on where you are in the path of a storm, electrical surges can be a challenge.
Use generators properly
If you have a home generator, check the fuel capacity. This is something you should focus on as part of hurricane preparedness, especially if you’ll use the generator during a power outage. If used improperly, you may be at a high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or electrocution.
Create a backup power if you have medical equipment that uses electricity. This is something you must have in your hurricane preparedness checklist.
Another area you should focus on in your hurricane preparedness is disconnecting everything. To avoid electrocution you should disconnect:
- Propane tanks
- Electrical systems with built-in grills
- Speakers wired to the inside stereo unit
- Decorate light decks
- Outdoor lamps and lanterns
Your garage door is susceptible to the effects of a hurricane than any other part of the property. Because these doors have huge openings, they can be vulnerable to violent storms. If you’re not careful, these winds can rip off roofs or cause serious structural damage. To avoid the worst-case situation, there are things you can do in your hurricane preparedness checklist.
Does your garage meet the hurricane-force wind regulations? In certain areas, your garage should withstand over 100 miles per hour.
There are things you can do as part of hurricane preparedness to ensure that the garage door is well-maintained.
Use retrofit kits
Retrofit kits are designed to withstand the strong force of hurricane winds. The kits cost more and may require that you upgrade the parts of the system. You may need a supplier to evaluate the existing door equipment.
Whether you choose a DIY method or engage a professional, a brace can stabilize the door against the strong forces of a hurricane. You’ll have to remove these add-on systems to ensure the garage door operates normally.
Prepare the basement
Before the hurricane season kicks in, you should protect the basement to ensure it doesn’t pose threat to the rest of the house. Basic tips for hurricane preparedness in your basement include:
Anchor unsafe objects – these include grills and propane tanks
Store the valuables in waterproof containers and ensure they can be identified during an evacuation.
Get a sump pump – A properly waterproofed basement has a sump pump. At its most basic level, this is a way of removing water from home. If it’s clogged or unable to remove water fast enough, the motor can burn out, or the unit may stop working altogether.
Talk to neighbors
After a hurricane disaster, most people rely on neighbors. Even if you’re busy with the preparation, you should ask them about the evacuation plan before the storm hits. And you never know, your house may start flooding, and the only option you have is to runs to theirs.
Hurricane preparedness: personal safety guidance
Whether you plan to evacuate or ride the storm out, you should put together a survival kit. It should include things like:
- Battery-powered lanterns
- Phone chargers
- First-aid kit
- Non-perishable items
If you have to ride the storm, you should look for a safe place like the basement.
Wrapping it up
If your property is located in a hurricane-prone area, you should follow the above tips to the latter. Without adequate hurricane preparedness, your home may be vulnerable to the destructive forces of nature. But there’s no reason to the caught unprepared. It takes a little research and investment to protect your home, loved ones, pets, and birds on sale.