You depend on your home to be strong, but bad weather can weaken it to its very core. It’s silly to think of an inanimate object as having an enemy – but if your house could have an enemy, it would certainly be moisture. Water can weaken the very structure of your home. It can turn your home from a safe haven to a potential safety hazard. It can threaten your health by creating the perfect environment for mold and mildew to flourish. If water gets into your home and seeps into places it’s not wanted, that could mean serious, costly bills for you.
There is no need to be nervous, though. An informed homeowner can head storm damage off at the pass. If you know to be on the lookout, storm damage doesn’t have the opportunity to fester and grow. Read this guide to find the 10 home areas most affected by bad weather.
When it comes to bad weather, your roof is your home’s first defense. Your roof is designed to move water and ice away from your home as efficiently as possible. Gutters help do this by providing a path for water that lands on your roof. Make sure to keep your gutters clean and check them occasionally to make sure they are firmly attached to your home. You should also check the shingles on your roof to make sure they are in good condition. Weak shingles can allow water to get underneath them, causing serious damage to your roof. That damage can extend to the inside of your home.
Once water from a bad rain or snow storm leaves your roof, it must make a path past your foundation. Of course, you must make sure it doesn’t stay there. The next time it rains, take a look at your foundation at different points around your home. If you notice water pooling around your home – you have a problem. Your home should be designed so that water runs away from the foundation. Otherwise, it can cause the very frame of your home to crack and move. Check your foundation for cracks. There are some other signs of foundation damage that you might not even realize are due to the foundation. Be on the lookout for sloping floors and crooked door- and window frames.
If you don’t have a basement-flooding-during-a-bad-storm story, most likely you know someone who does. If your basement is underground, it’s vulnerable to water damage during bad weather. A sump pump can help drain off water that would otherwise get into your basement. If you have a sump pump, inspect it occasionally to make sure it’s in working order. You should also check your home’s foundation and walls for cracks that can let water in.
If you are like me, you have lots of stuff in your backyard. There’s a grill, a table, chairs and – depending on the time of year – lots and lots of children’s toys. Other people might have pool equipment, umbrellas, swings, the list goes on and on. All that stuff in your back yard could become dangerous in the event of bad weather. Strong winds could turn harmless toys into projectiles. That’s why it is important to bring everything that you can inside when you know a big storm is coming. What you can’t move inside, you should tie down thoroughly.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where you keep your food; it’s likely the place where your family usually gathers. However, a bad storm could knock it out of commission for a good long while. How? No power means no refrigerator, possibly no stove and for some no water. If you know a big storm is headed your way, make sure to have nonperishable food on-hand in case of power outages. You should also have some bottled water on hand. FEMA recommends that you have a gallon of water per person, per day. Remember that children and nursing mothers might need more water.
Windows can be very vulnerable to outside weather during a big storm. Keep your windows in good condition. If there are cracks in your windows or around the seals, that could let in wind, rain and snow. If a hurricane is headed your way, forget about taping up your windows. Experts say the tape doesn’t actually make your windows any stronger. Plywood is a better option if you are looking for added protection. If you live in a part of the country that is prone to storms, you may want to consider investing in heavy shutters. Oh – and in the case that a big windy storm is headed your way – make sure to stay away from your windows altogether.
Doors bear the brunt of bad weather. Whether it’s windy, rainy, snowy or sunny, your door feels it first. Get a good strong door that will last you a long time. If your door is painted, make sure to give it a touch-up occasionally to keep it looking good.
Trees become safety hazards in the event of a big storm. Ice and snow can weigh down branches and strong winds can uproot the tree entirely. Have a professional trim away dead branches from your trees. You should also make sure trees on your property don’t grow into power lines. Look into having a professional trim them down. Some communities will actually cut down and/or around trees that are interfering with utility lines if you just contact them and ask.
Just like your doors, your home’s siding has to take a lot of abuse. Every day, the outside of your home must bear the brunt of whatever Mother Nature has to offer. There is not much you can do to protect your siding once a bad storm is headed your way, but there is plenty you can do to keep it in good condition. First, make sure you know what the manufacturer of your particular kind of siding says about how to care for whatever material you are using. That’s important because failure to take care of it in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions could mean that your warranty is voided. Be on the lookout for parts that look damaged or loose and have them repaired as soon as you can. If the outside of your home is wood, it’s extra important to care for that. Wood often must be treated so that it’s water resistant. It also needs to be replaced more frequently than, say, vinyl.
The electronics in your home, along with your home’s wiring are vulnerable to big storms in a few ways. Most obviously, if a storm knocks out power, they don’t work. Also, lightning during a storm can cause a powerful surge that could seriously damage your electronics. That’s why it’s important to purchase surge protectors. Finally, water rushing into your home could damage wiring and cause real, immediate fire and safety concerns.
There’s no doubt about it - bad weather can bring big hassles for homeowners. However, you can stay ahead of Mother Nature by being prepared. Be vigilant. Know what parts of your home are vulnerable so that you can take steps to protect them.