Whether you live in a hurricane zone such as the Gulf states or Atlantic coast, Tornado Alley (Midwest, Great Plains, Mississippi Valley), or anywhere that is subjected to severe weather conditions, there are things you can do to protect your home and family.
You may be able to tackle some of these jobs yourself. For those you can’t, there are professional home improvement services such as Serviz Home Repairs on Demand, who can send a handyman to help out with items like the garage door, gutter cleaning, electrical work, drain cleaning, and others. Here are a few key areas to prioritize for a safe and secure storm season.
Doors. Check to see if the doors in your home are FEMA-friendly. By simulating the conditions of an EF5 tornado, Kiesling’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center (WISE) at Texas Tech tested a range of doors. Those that could withstand 250 mph winds and tolerate a 15-pound, 12-foot 2×4 hurled horizontally at a speed of 100 mph were awarded a seal of approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
If your home has double doors, especially if one of them is held stationary while the other one opens and shuts, make sure they are both securely fastened in place. You can get a reinforcing kit to help with this.
Garage door. It may be hard to believe, but that massive garage door you wrestle with is surprisingly vulnerable to caving in under the pressure of strong winds, especially in an older home. Once it breaches this crucial bastion, the storm has free reign to blow out walls, doors, and windows, or even raise the roof.
Reinforce the garage door with horizontal bracing plates on each panel. Because this structure is so crucial, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to come over and inspect your garage door, make suggestions, and carry out the necessary repairs.
Storm Shutters. Clearly, the glass in your windows is one of the weakest spots in a storm. Put up you shutters well before you expect to need them. In 2018, Storm Alberto made landfall in Florida four days before the “official” beginning of hurricane season.
Gutters and downspouts. Keeping the water flowing through these will go a long way to protecting your house and basement from flooding. Install seamless gutters, which are better than those that come in sections, because there are no joints that can loosen and become leaky. Make sure they are securely connected to the downspouts, which should extend all the way to the ground.
Basement If your basement is the place you to ride out a storm, then it’s really important to keep it safe and dry. Here, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To reduce the chance of flooding, invest in a robust drainage system and automatic sump pump.
At the very least, your drainage system can consist of holes drilled in the basement walls to help flood water flow outside. The sump pump, provided its tank has an opening in the top, will serve as a drain. You would not be going overboard to install a backup sump pump, it is so vital to keeping your home safe and dry.
Standby Generator. Like a hospital or blood bank, your home also needs an emergency electrical supply. Because you might not be at home when disaster strikes, a gasoline-powered generator is not ideal, because you have to keep topping it up in order for it to keep your fridge, freezer, and sump pump powered up and running. A propane or natural gas generator will not only run automatically when the power goes out, it will also kick-start itself on a weekly basis to keep the battery charged.
These are some of the main areas that need your attention if your home is going to hold up to all but the severest storms in their category. The roof of your home is possibly the single most important structure, serving as it does to keep out the elements and hold the walls together. For this, you should make friends with a reputable roofing contractor. For the tasks in this article, make friends with your local handyman.