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How to Get Your Home Ready for Hurricane Season
Living a few hours inland from the ocean means we don't have to worry about a direct landfall from hurricanes and the storm surge that comes with them. That doesn't mean we're out of the woods, though. We often see several inches of rain, tropical storm force winds, and tornadoes when a hurricane hits the North Carolina coast. In 1996, Hurricane Fran went directly over Raleigh with hurricane-force winds, knocking out power for weeks and causing millions of dollars in damage, while Hurricane Matthew caused deadly flooding around the region in 2017. All of this is to say that even though hurricanes seem like a coastal problem, it's important to take them seriously here, too. As the 2020 season is forecast to be especially active, we wanted to take the opportunity to help you prepare. We've done this before, providing information about how to stay safe during a hurricane and ways you can minimize damage from a hurricane. Today, we wanted to share some more in-depth action you can take well before a storm is on the way to protect your home and belongings from a hurricane.
Take Inventory of Your Property Annually
If you bought your home 20 years ago and simply keep paying premiums, there's a good chance your information is well out of date for what you have and don't have. In the event your home floods or is damaged during a hurricane, you may not know what to replace or what it's worth. Each year, go through your home and keep an updated inventory - to make it even easier, the Insurance Information Institute has a free app where you can keep the information, update it as needed, and even include your insurance policy and agent's name and contact information.
Check and Secure Your Roof
Wind and torrential rain can do terrible damage to a roof, especially one that already has vulnerabilities. Either have a professional provide an inspection or inspect it yourself, looking for damaged or missing shingles, missing or raised flashing, or other areas, and have them repaired as soon as possible. Most homes around the Triangle basically rely on gravity to keep your roof on, but in Florida and other coastal locations, metal roof straps are required in the building code. They anchor your trusses and rafters to your top plate and even your wall studs, providing a secure hold during most storms. You can purchase them and install them yourself or you can have a professional install them for usually around $500. Finally, check in your attic for any holes, spaces, or gaps where water can be forced in. If you see daylight coming in through any cracks or you feel air coming in around any of the window or vent seals, water an also come in and cause mold and damage. We would recommend using spray foam insulation in your attic to create an air and moisture-resistant space that is also more secure and stable during storms (plus, it will improve your home's energy efficiency).
Secure Your Carport or Garage
Carports and garages are especially vulnerable during a hurricane or severe weather event. Carports are often picked up by the wind and ripped away from the structure, creating massive roof and siding damage. Garage doors can be flimsy, allowing water to come in at best, and at worst can be blown in completely or blown upwards and damaging the attic. For your carport, check the posts to ensure they are securely anchored to the ground with either an auger style anchor, ground stake, or heavy duty base plates. This can also be used to protect a porch and prevent damage. For your garage, reinforce the door with a retrofit kit that can add both vertical and horizontal reinforcement. You can also build braces out of 2x4s and keep them handy so you can attach them quickly before a storm comes.
Invest in a Generator
One of the biggest problems when a hurricane comes through is being out of power for days. Often, homeowners will go and buy generators when the watches and warnings go up, causing there to be a shortage. Instead of waiting, consider investing in a generator and keeping fuel on hand so you don't have to fight crowds who are trying to prepare. How much of a generator do you need? It really depends on your home and your needs - A 3,500 watt generator will keep your fridge, several small electronics, coffee pot, and a 10k BTU window air conditioner going pretty smoothly. However, if you have a sump pump or want to run central AC, you'll need a larger generator that can connect into your electrical panel via a manual transfer switch.
Waterproof Your Home
The most important thing you need to do to keep your home safe and protected during a hurricane is to avoid water damage, so you want to seal your home as much as you can because driving, torrential rain can get through even the smallest cracks and crevices. Start by going around your windows and doors and sealing them completely with caulk. You've already checked your attic for areas of light coming in or around your window (and are considering spray foam insulation, right?), so now it's time to check your basement or crawl space. Before a storm comes, now is a great time to consider waterproofing your basement or sealing your crawl space. A damp area or space that collects standing water during wet weather can turn into a dangerous, damaging flood if a hurricane comes through. Waterproofing and sealing prevents that damage along with the mold, mildew, and pest infestation that can come with it.
Contact Us for Basement Waterproofing and Other Services in Raleigh
As storms get larger and more severe, the more important it is to take the threat they bring seriously and do what you can to protect your home and belongings. With our Dual Pressure Relief System, you can transform a damp, flood-prone area into a dry, clean space, and with our lifetime guarantee. To schedule an estimate or learn more about our services, call us today at 919-847-7072 or fill out our online form to get started.