Preparing Your Home for Fall and Winter Storms
November 6, 2021
As autumn approaches with its heavy rains and storms that are becoming increasingly unpredictable, you should start now to make sure your home is properly protected against them.
If a particularly heavy storm hits, you can lose outdoor furnishings and see parts of your house damaged by winds or falling trees or branches. Also, you can lose power for minutes, hours and in some cases days if the electrical grid is damaged badly enough.
But, in order to protect what is probably your largest investment, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of severe damage and keep you going should your home sustain serious damage.
Put away all loose outdoor items
If a storm is making its way to your area, you need to stow all unattached items in your yard. If you have lawn furniture, barbecues, garden decorations or sporting equipment around your yard, you should store it all in your shed or a protected area in the yard.
Storm winds can carry these items far from your home, or through one of your windows.
Don’t just stow stuff next to your house. Preferably, the items should not be outdoors at all.
While you’re at it, before a storm approaches, close and secure your doors and windows.
Trim your trees
While falling branches can damage your home, a tree that falls onto your house can not only damage the structure but also kill or injure you or your family members. Typically, it’s sick trees that have lost their root support that will topple.
Check your trees to see if they look healthy. Look for bare branches at the top, which might be a sign a tree is in poor shape. Also check near the base to see if you have roots that are sprawled out at one side of the tree? That could be a sign your tree will eventually fall over.
If you’re unsure about the health of a tree, you can hire an arborist.
You should also inspect for branches that can snap. If big enough, a falling branch can damage siding, windows – or even your car. They can also damage power lines, causing power outages not only for you but also your neighbors.
To identify limbs that have the potential to snap, climb a ladder and inspect the branches to see if there are any cracks where they attach to the trunk. Any branches that are loose like that can snap during a storm. Instead, saw them off.
Also, make sure to remove any branches that are touching or close to touching your roof or siding.
Don’t wait until a storm is approaching to inspect and trim your tree. You will likely not have time to remove all the debris you’ve cut and, if it’s left on the ground, it can go airborne during a storm and cause damage.
Storm-proof windows or shutters
You have two options for protecting windows: install storm-proof windows or storm shutters.
The latter are a real necessity if you live in an area that is especially prone to big storms, tornadoes or hurricanes.
Shutters are often made of steel or aluminum. There are also sliding door-type shutters on the market if you don’t like the way other shutters look on your home.
The other option is storm-proof windows, which are typically made from impact-resistant glass surrounded by a heavy-duty frame that is securely fastened to the interior window header and frame. They are akin to automotive windows.
- Buy a gas generator that you can start up in case power goes out from downed power lines or damaged transformers.
- Inspect your rain gutters, make sure they are secure against the house and clear them of any debris that could cause water to back up.
- Put together an emergency kit with a battery-operated radio, batteries, flashlights, and a landline phone that isn’t cordless.
Check your insurance
You should make sure you have the proper amount of coverage. Talk to us about any upgrades you may have done recently to your house that may increase the cost of having to rebuild the home after a major incident.