Networx: Safeguard your home against summer storm damage
Warm sunny days and balmy evenings are what usually come to mind when we think about summery weather. But that’s only part of the picture. Summer often brings heavy, humid conditions, followed by furious storms. While these do tend to clear the air and cool things off (at least for a few days), intense wind, rain, and thunderstorms also have the potential to destroy.
Protect your home against damage from these forces of nature with the following 7 suggestions.
A raging summer windstorm is capable of bringing down large branches or even entire trees, threatening nearby vehicles and power lines, your house, and your family members. Take preventive action by regularly checking trees and shrubs on your property. Look for loosely attached limbs, rot, disease, or insect infestation. Any of these problems indicates that the tree is more likely to shed a branch or worse. Hire a professional to trim the tree or if necessary, remove it completely. Protect yourself against another type of danger by making sure the tree service you call is fully insured and properly equipped with safety gear — tree removal can be risky work.
Lightning can occasionally cause a power surge (an unusually high amount of electricity briefly surging through the wiring). This is not good news for your sensitive electronic devices and appliances, such as computers, digital washing machines, and so on, which may end up permanently disabled. Installing surge protectors can help prevent this situation, but they are not foolproof. If severe weather conditions are forecast, unplug individual devices or power strips from their outlet (don’t just switch them off).
Prepare for the inevitable — summer storms frequently cause regional power outages that may take hours or even days for the utility company to remedy. Stock up on emergency lights and non-perishable, ready-to-eat food. Never use fuel-burning devices designed for outdoor use only, such as gas or kerosene grills, inside the home because these produce carbon monoxide, a gas which is odorless and invisible yet potentially lethal. (And by the way, installing CO alarms on every floor of your house is a fantastic way to help keep your loved ones safe.) Consider purchasing a generator as a standby source of electricity.
In the middle of a rip-roaring summer thunderstorm, you really want a good solid roof over your head. Inspect your roofing regularly, at least twice a year, as well as after any severe weather, looking for buckled, cracked, or missing shingles or any other signs of wear and tear. This can generally be done using binoculars, with your feet planted safely on the ground. Prompt roof repair will help keep you and your belongings dry and will help avoid the need for a more serious fix further on down the line. For anyone who lives in a hurricane-prone area, roof clips or hurricane straps can prevent an even more serious problem — having your roof literally blown off by the force of the wind.
Water leaks or floods
Rain and floodwater that get into your home are capable of doing severe damage to furniture, appliances, and other belongings, as well as the structure of the house itself. Help to head them off by sealing cracks in places like the foundation and walls, next to windows and doors, and around the chimney and vent pipes. Clear dead leaves or other debris out of your gutters and downspouts, so that even a ferocious downpour will be directed away from the foundation of your home. If you have a basement, guard against flooding by setting up a sump pump, preferably one with an automatic moisture sensor. A smart home program will alert you to any suspicious levels of moisture, even when you are away from the house.
— Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.