How to Prepare Your Home for Heavy Storms

It seems like yesterday when South Carolina was reeling from the floods unleashed by Hurricane Florence. But now, there is Hurricane Michael threatening to become the strongest storm to strike the Florida Panhandle yet.

As weather patterns continue to get crazy each year, it’s better to be safe than sorry and prepare your home for the now “regular” hurricane seasons. Here are a few simple and essential measures to go about it.

Secure HVAC Systems

Image via Flickr by Pam_Andrade

Protect your HVAC system, as it’s usually the first to go for a toss in the high winds. Clear the furniture from your patio to avoid hits, and remove all the sticks and leaves to prevent clogging. Cut any low-lying branches of the trees close to your house to avoid damage.

You need to get an elevated platform for your HVAC system to prevent water seepage. Anchor it properly, cover it with a strong canvas tarp, and place hail guards over the more delicate parts for additional protection. Consult a professional for the installation if you are not sure of your DIY skills.

Never use your HVAC system during the storm; it must be turned off to prevent power surges. It’s better to switch off the circuit breaker that controls the units to avoid an accidental turn-on during the storm.

Remember to set your thermostat settings at a slightly lower temperature than the usual to cool the house before the storm. Don’t go about turning all your appliances on after power is restored; instead, turn them on one by one. In addition, service your sump pump and get a backup battery system installed.

Install Hurricane Shutters

You need to secure your doors and windows from extremely strong winds and hail. Invest in good hurricane shutters, easily available at your local stores or online from sites such as Amazon. You can get a lot of variety — from storm panel, plywood, and rolling shutters to colonial, Bahama, and accordion-style hurricane shutters.

You can also install the affordable fabric storm panels, which are nothing but reinforced-PVC or mesh sheets that can be attached to windows. Alternatively, opt for the hurricane glasses or impact-resistant windows. Although they are costlier, they offer stronger protection.

Roofs are particularly vulnerable during high winds. Ensure you repair damaged or missing nails, apply roofing cement, and protect the roof with hurricane anchors. Whatever method you choose, it can help offset your homeowner insurance premium.

Assess Your Insurance

We all get ample warnings these days before a storm makes a landfall. It’s wise to pack all your important documents, such as leases, deeds, and insurance papers, and keep them in a safe place. Better still, scan all the papers and secure them on a cloud server to access them later.

Proof of damage becomes very important when claiming for damages. Always check your insurance policy clauses carefully before signing your policy. It’s also advisable to make an inventory of your belongings on a video to submit to your insurance company, so it doesn’t have any reason to reject your claim.

You can’t always prevent high damages, but you can minimize them with this no-brainer checklist. Implementing them will help protect your home and your safety. Stay vigilant!

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