For every perfect day, there are dozens of ones filled with brutal wind chills, torrential downpours, severe thunderstorms, and high winds. And your new home is going to have to brave them all. But don’t worry – by taking just a few precautions (and channeling your inner handiness), you can protect your home against nearly any type of inclement weather.
As we head into the height of the hurricane season here in the Carolinas, there are some things to consider - especially for our communities located near the coast and low elevation areas.
Does Your Insurance Cover That?
Always know what all your insurance policy covers! You don't want any surprises when dealing with any possible damage to your home. If you’re a super-new homeowner, you probably purchased this policy recently, so there shouldn’t be any surprises. Flooding is a major issue that can affect homes during hurricanes, regardless if you are right on the coast or a couple of hundred miles inland. Hurricanes can produce an average of 6 to 12 inches of rainfall. Flooding can be even worse when hurricanes stall out and don't head back to sea in a quick manner.
Make sure your new home is covered for losses resulting from natural disasters – you may need to purchase flooding, hurricane, or tornado policies separately. In some areas, hurricane insurance will be required when it comes time to buying your new home. Keep note of that as an extra expense when you are looking for homes in close proximity to the coast.
Keep Your Gutters Clear!
It’s not just a chore you put off until the last minute. When you realize how much damage water can do, you’ll be out cleaning your gutters every weekend. Gutters keep water flowing away from your home and its foundation, so don’t let those downspouts get clogged with leaves or debris. For those who live under pine trees, those pine needles can clog your gutters up FAST! If you are not ready for the sheer amount of rainfall that can occur during a hurricane, many problems can arise from your clogged gutters alone. Stay on top of this easy task before it is too late.
Be sure to use safe ladder and cleaning practices when cleaning your gutters!
Groom Your Trees
Wind can do a lot more than knock off a few shingles. During high winds, heavy tree limbs can snap and cause severe damage to your home, your car, and your neighbor’s property. Don’t wait until a storm hits to realize you have a tree problem – regularly trim your trees (hiring a professional is the way to go) can help protect your property as well as your neighbors' property.
As hurricane season ramps up, winds can start at 75 mph and reach speeds of almost 150 mph in worst-case scenarios. Making sure any trees or limbs close to the house are taken care of prior to these heinous storms is the most ideal way to handle these threats. It is also important to put away any loose furniture or items hanging outside. These can also cause damage to surrounding property as well as leaving you with broken items during high wind hurricanes.
Have a Plan and Communicate It Often
When bad weather hits, have a plan in place to protect yourself and your family. Make sure everybody in your house knows where to go during a severe thunderstorm, tornado, or (in
some cases) an earthquake. Pick a safe place to hunker down and wait out the storm away from windows, glass, and anything that could hurt you.
KNOW YOUR ZONES and EVACUATION ROUTES when hurricanes are approaching your area. Be sure to keep an eye on the news and weather trackers to stay informed with the latest storm information. Storm surges and hurricanes themselves can be extremely dangerous and can cause many issues if the proper steps are not taken. Know where you would go if you had to evacuate the area. If a hurricane is underway but no evacuation has been implemented yet, be sure to have a "go bag" with several days worth of clothing and toiletries for each member of the family when the evacuation call is made. Storms can change at a moment's notice, so it is good to be prepared for any instance to guarantee the safety of you and your family.
There are many ways you can protect your home from inclement weather. Don’t consider any of this a one-and-done type of action, either. Make sure you regularly inspect your home for
water damage, leaking windows or doors, or problem trees. And remember: Your home is replaceable, but the people who live in it are not. Keep your house safe, and your family even
We want our families and homeowners to be safe during inclement weather. For more information on evacuation zones and what to do during an impending hurricane, head to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety's website