How To Storm-Proof Your Home

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These tips will get you (and your home) through any storm, and help you deal with the aftermath if your house does take a nasty hit from the weather.

Simple Storm-Proofing Tips For Your Home

Check your roof, as well as the rest of your home's exterior for signs of damage or loose shingles. Nail down any shingles to prevent them from flying off in heavy winds. If you notice extensive damage, consider having sections of your roof, or your entire roof, replaced. Ask a professional roofer about storm-proof shingles with 20-year to lifetime guarantees. If you have a gabled roof, you may also ask a roofer about additional braces in the trusses or galvanized metal hurricane straps to secure the roof.

Get rid of any dead or dying trees that could pose a hazard if they fell. Heavy winds and rains can knock down even the sturdiest of trees, but those that are dying or dead are more likely to cause damage to your home, car, or even people.

Check windows and doors for leaks. Add weatherproofing or sealant if windows leak. You might consider a home energy audit to test the energy-efficiency of your windows. You can earn a tax credit for upgrading to energy-efficient models if your current windows don't stack up to today's standards. Adding storm shutters is an inexpensive upgrade you can hire a contractor to perform or do yourself.

Change your doors. Wooden exterior doors provide little protection against the elements. Consider adding insulated metal storm doors. You'll save on heating and cooling costs as well as protecting your home from storm damage. Check hinges on doors to make sure they are tight, and consider adding stronger bolts and pins.

Inspect your basement. In the event of a hurricane or tornado, the basement might be your family's refuge. Make sure windows are well-sealed. If your basement is prone to flooding, consider a sump pump.

Protect Yourself

Now that your home is safe and secure, it's time to make sure you and your family are ready for anything.

Preppers Warehouse, an ecommerce site devoted to emergency preparedness, recommends these items as the start of your preparedness checklist:

  • At least one gallon of water per person per day, for at least three days (you might also consider a water purification kit to make water safe for drinking)
  • Non-perishable food for three meals and two snacks per day (1,600-2,000 calories) per person
  • A manual can opener
  • Flashlights (with batteries) and candles (with matches in a waterproof container)
  • A first-aid kit
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Duct tape
  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
  • Your family's important documents in a waterproof location

You might also want to make sure you have a stock of propane for your gas grill; if power goes out, you can still host a neighborhood cookout after the storm passes. Investing in a generator can help keep food from spoiling, keep your home heated or cooled as needed with portable space heaters or fans, and even help keep the kids entertained.

Dealing With Disaster Recovery

Your homeowners' insurance documents should be stored safely with the rest of your important documents in a waterproof envelope or a safe. You'll need these to call your insurance agent immediately following the storm, as soon as you've assessed the damage.

The sooner you call, the sooner the insurance company will process your claim, especially if your home was damaged in a big storm that affected hundreds or thousands of homes. When you call, describe the damage that occurred, and have pictures on hand to show the damage. List any personal property and belongings that were lost or damaged in the storm.

While you're waiting for your insurance claim to process and to receive your check, you may have to make temporary repairs, such as sealing windows or doors with plastic and duct tape or with plywood. Make these repairs as soon as possible to avoid further water damage.

Call local contractors to get estimates for home repairs, and then submit these estimates to your insurance adjuster. Before you know it, you'll have weathered the storm and your home will be as good as new.

This article was written by Dawn Allcot, an online resource for moving information, products and coupons.

Last Updated: August 21, 2012
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