8 Signs That Your Home Isn't Hurricane-Ready
by Jane Weston
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season reached its peak on September 10th, with no fewer than six areas of concern being monitored by the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC). While many Americans never encounter extreme weather, it is a different ballgame for homeowners who resides in an area that is naturally prone to tropical storms and hurricanes. Preparation is of the utmost importance if you want to get through hurricane season unscathed. Apart from being well-informed about any approaching storms, it is also imperative to ensure that your house is hurricane-ready. While many homeowners habitually prepare their homes for storm season every year, there are a few things that can point to the fact that your house might not be as prepared as you had hoped.
The seals around your door and windows are damaged
If the seals around your doors and windows are damaged you are definitely not prepared for hurricane season. These seals naturally deteriorate over time, especially in hot climates. If this issue is not addressed prior to a storm hitting you can expect a significant amount of sideways-blowing rain to enter the house. Inspect your seals at least two times a year, making sure one of the inspections is carried out shortly before hurricane season typically starts. Focus on the caulk around the frame as well as the glazing around the panes. If you find extensive damage to your windows, consider replacing them with special storm windows that are designed to withstand the onslaught of extreme weather conditions.
Your porches and carports aren’t secured
An unsecured porch or carport has the potential to do great damage during a hurricane. The strong wind can result in it lifting up and literally tearing a hole in your house. It is important to make sure that your port, carport, and any other structures that are attached to your house are properly anchored to the ground. Make sure that all supporting posts are in good nick. Additionally, invest in extra cabling that will enable you to tie the roof of the porch or carport to storm anchors that have been installed in the driveway or surrounding ground.
Your roof hasn’t been inspected in ages
The roof is the largest potential entry point into the house which is why it is so important to ensure that it is kept in pristine condition. If you haven’t checked your roof by the time hurricane season starts, it might be too late as extensive roof repairs can be both time-intensive and costly. Carry out a thorough roof inspection before hurricane season commences. Be on the lookout for any loose or broken tiles or shingles and make a point of fixing or replacing them as soon as possible. If you are not confident in your own roof-checking abilities, enlist the services of a reputable roofing company or handyman to assist with these very important tasks.
You have loose object lying around outside
If you have any objects lying around outside when a storm hits, you can expect them to turn into deadly missiles that can not only damage your own property and that of your neighbour’s, but cause severe injury as well. Before a hurricane approaches, make sure to either pick up or secure anything that may become airborne as wind speeds increase. Lawn furniture should be packed away while toys and gardening equipment should be safely packed away in a garden shed or garage. Move potted plants against walls or anchor them to the ground with special storm straps.
Your trees and shrubs are overgrown
Broken branches and uprooted trees can cause extensive damage during a hurricane, especially to near-by windows, roofs and nearby power lines. Shrubs and branches need to be cut back to prevent branches from falling while also reducing the risk of uprooting. If you have not attended to your garden in a while, it may be time to call in the help of an arborist to assess the health of your trees. If any of them are likely to come down in strong wind it may be a good idea to get rid of them altogether.
The gutters and drains are clogged
If your gutters and drains haven’t been cleaned in quite some time you might be in for a few nasty surprises during hurricane season. Leaves, branches, and other debris can cause a severe water overflow which can wreak havoc during hurricane season. Unless you have cleared out your gutters and drains prior to the first stop hitting, you can expect water to find a way into your roof, attic, or basement. According to the experts, you should clean your gutters at least twice a year although it is a good idea to check them every three months if you have any tall trees growing close to your home.
The foundation has seen better days
A cracked foundation is a nightmare for any homeowner as it can cause extensive flooding and tricky plumbing concerns. Foundation repairs not only tend to be very expensive but they also generally done while hurricane season is in full swing. In order to avoid disaster, check your foundation for cracks on a regular basis. You can also prevent cracking caused by expanding ice and water damage by extending your downspouts further away from your house. If you do notice minor damage to your foundation try to have it repaired right away before it becomes a huge problem.
Your insurance cover isn’t up to date
Sometimes, despite our best efforts to prepare our homes for hurricane season, damage still occurs. If your insurance policies are not up to date, you may find yourself with huge bills that you are unable to pay. Although it may be too late to make any changes to your insurance coverage for the current hurricane season, it is important to at least review the coverage you have. That way you will know where you stand in term of potential repairs and replacements before a storm hits.
It is impossible to predict exactly how the rest of hurricane season will pan out. By preparing your house well in advance, however, you have the best chance possible of avoiding extensive damage that will require costly repairs after the storms have subsided.