Every region in the United States is susceptible to some type of major storm. Whether it’s a hurricane on the Atlantic or Gulf coast, a tornado in the Midwest or a tropical storm in the Pacific, there are steps homeowners can take to protect their homes and keep their families safe.
Keep your roof in good shape:
The roof is your home’s primary defense against the elements, and an annual roof inspection should be part of your storm preparedness plan. During an inspection, a roofer will check the overall structural integrity of your roof; look for loose shingles that could easily blow away in a storm, and other areas that may be prone to damage. For homeowners who live in areas prone to high winds, a roofing company can install wind-resistant shingles, plug areas where water could enter the home, and add extra fortification to your gables, rafters and sheathing.
Clear gutters and downspouts:
Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of obstructions and in good repair. This is important to do anyway, but as they will need to work overtime during a major storm. Poorly sloped, leaking or obstructed gutters and downspouts can overflow, causing water damage to your home’s exterior or foundation.
Tend to trees and other wind hazards:
If you have trees near your house, have an expert look at them once every year or two to trim away dead limbs that could break off during a storm and crash through your roof. Don't just hire the guy with a chainsaw who knocks on your door; find a qualified tree expert and have weak limbs taken down before a storm does it.
When a big storm is headed your way, look around your property for objects that could become dangerous flying debris. Even heavy structures like playground equipment, porch swings and grills should be secured to the ground.
Give your sump pump a backup:
The sump pump is often overlooked during storm preparation, yet it provides the main line of defense against basement flooding. If you have a finished basement, install a sump pump with a battery backup to ensure it will continue to operate in the event power is lost.
No, don't open the windows:
It’s a common misconception that you should open windows in the home in anticipation of a wind event such as a tornado or hurricane. It was incorrectly assumed that it would help move air through the home and prevent it from becoming too pressurized and exploding. This theory has been debunked, and it actually puts your family at a greater risk of injury caused by flying debris.
Homeowners in areas prone to tornados can install impact-resistant glass for extra protection. People in coastal areas can install hurricane shutters made out of plywood, aluminum or steel to prevent windows from breaking. Talk to a window installation company for more information.