Article originally published in the October 2017 issue of Our Town Magazine; reformatted for the online medium.
In light of the recent Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, many homeowners are left wondering if they’ve done all they can to protect their home in hurricane season. For those of us further inland, protected from the full brunt of the hurricane, tropical storms are still a concern. Since your home is likely one of your largest investments, keeping it safe should be among your top priorities. In preparation for these seasonal storms, here are some of the many steps you can take to protect both your home and property.
Before the storm hits, prepare your home and protect your family.
- Trim your trees: Before hurricane season, trim any dead branches and remove damaged trees on your property, as these are among the primary dangers to your home during strong storms.
- Upkeep gutters and downspouts: To prevent flooding and damage to your property, make sure to clear debris and clogs from rain gutters and downspouts frequently. Additionally, make sure all gutters and downspouts are anchored securely so that strong winds can’t dislodge them. Be especially sure to double check these areas of your home if you are given adequate warning of a tropical storm or hurricane coming towards your area.
- Consider storm shutters: If you’re living in an area prone to high winds throwing objects around, you should consider installing storm shutters. When given notice of an incoming storm, close your storm shutters and stay away from windows to protect yourself from any flying glass that a broken window could introduce to your home.
- Lower your refrigerator temperature: Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest setting and then avoid opening them. In the event of a power outage, this will keep the food longer. Additionally, freeze a cup of water and place a coin on top, leaving it in your freezer. After the power outage, if you find the coin at the bottom of the ice, you’ll know that your food thawed and froze again and may not be safe for consumption.
- Store outdoor objects: Bring in any loose objects that are light enough to become projectiles in high winds. These include patio furniture, garbage cans, umbrellas, and hammocks. Objects that are unsafe or impractical to bring inside, including propane tanks and trampolines, should be carefully secured so that they cannot be blown away.
After the storm, be sure to take these steps to ensure safety and prevent any (further) damage.
- Watch where you step: Look out for debris and downed power lines as you patrol your property for damage.
- Avoid flood waters: Do not walk or drive through flood waters. Six inches of moving water can knock a person down, and twelve inches of moving water can sweep your car away. Additionally, flood waters may be electrically charged from downed or underground power lines or may hide holes and dangerous objects.
- Record the damage: Photograph all storm damage immediately to help with any insurance claim you may need to file.
- Prevent further damage: Place a tarp over roof leaks, cover broken windows, etc. Some insurance companies will only cover damage occurring during the storm, and leave you with the bill for any further damage.
By properly preparing for major storms, you can protect the property value of your house. If you’re interested in finding the value of your home, a Realtor can perform a comparable market assessment for your property.
If you’re selling your home and are interested in getting a more detailed market overview for your home, submit a home valuation request, and we will put together a complete listing assessment, including a comparable market analysis, for your property.