Preparing your Home for Extreme Weather
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, many people are wondering how to prepare their home before extreme weather hits.
With Irma, the focus was on rain and wind, but extreme weather also includes extreme heat, snowfall, temperature drops, blizzards, flying debris such as sand and grit, and ice storms. That is a lot of natural forces to prepare for, but our comprehensive checklist helps make this daunting task a whole lot easier.
Extreme Weather Check List
1. Start with the Roof
- Make sure that the shingles on your roof are in good repair and that you replace any loose shingles. This includes asphalt shingles, stone tiles, and terracotta tiles too.
- Check the Gutters – Make sure that each gutter is securely attached to the building and that the downspouts have ample support and a good connection. Next, make sure that the gutters are clean as their job is to shuttle water away from the structure.
- Check the Flashing – Make sure that the flashing is well attached to the building.
2. Inspect the Windows
- Check Window Fit – Windows should fit snuggly into their frames without rattling.
- Check weather stripping, and caulking – Windows should not leak even if wind drives rain against them.
- In high-wind situations, cover windows with plywood to protect them from flying objects.
- In Cold, snow, and ice storms, the use of shutters helps to preserve heat and protect the glass from flying ice and hail.
3. Prepare Water and Gas
Inspect the main for water and the main for gas. If needed, you might have to shut off one or the other or both. Also, make sure that you have extra fuel such as 5-gallon propane canisters and bottled water available for use in the house. A good tip is to freeze empty milk jugs with water. Doing so helps keep your freezer frozen if the power goes out and as you melt these you can use the water to flush toilets.
4. Power Failures
A lot can happen during extreme weather, and while your house is nice and secure, mother nature might snap power poles or send a tree down across lines. You can offset these potential events by installing a generator. There are whole-house generators, and emergency generators so find one that fits your living requirements.
While you are at it, be sure to cover and protect outdoor outlets so that water cannot damage them and potentially cause a fire hazard.
5. HVAC and Chimneys
- Make sure that your HVAC unit is protected too. In extreme winds, flying debris can damage the unit as can ice storms and severe drops in temperature. A wooden box cover helps for strong winds and ice so long as the box is securely fastened to the ground.
- Chimneys – Make sure that your chimney is in good repair. The last thing you need is for bricks to come loose. It is also a good idea to inspect the top screen so that debris cannot fall into the chimney. Also, be careful about using your fireplace in extreme weather as strong winds can blow smoke back into your home.
6. Prepare for Fire
In the event of dry and prolonged heat, the risk of fire rises. Be sure to remove all brush and weeds from your yard, prune trees and shrubs away from the house, and install sprinklers that help create a defensible space around your home. Inside, be prepared with fire extinguishers for internal fires. Always have a fire plan in place for exiting the house so that everyone remains safe.
At Design Custom Homes we think about extreme weather when we design and build a home. For more information about what you can do to become better prepared for extreme weather, just reach out to our team. We have a long list of resources and can help with some of the tasks such as securing your HVAC or inspecting your roof.