Storm season can be a time of anxiety for homeowners and families. Whether it's snow, rain, hail or even tornadoes, Indiana residents can face a variety of weather challenges throughout the season. While you can't control the weather, you can take some steps now to prepare for the possibility of the worst in the future. Here are four ways you can prep your house to minimize risk and damage.
1. Update Doors and Windows
One of the weak links in most home exteriors are the entry points: windows and doors. If you haven't assessed or replaced any of these in a while, now is a good time to do so. Pick a sunny day and get as close to your windows and doors as possible for inspection. You may even want to have a professional service like Heartwood Enterprises, Inc. do a walk-through inspection to look for hidden problems.
When your doors and windows aren't working properly, it can lead to water leakage during rains, broken glass and buckling during wind events and colder internal temperatures during winter storms. Updating these features will stabilize the home and may even reduce your heating bills now.
2. Trim Trees
While you're examining the house's exterior, take a close look at all trees and large shrubs. Branches that hang over your roof or are too close to the house-as well as any damaged or infected branches-should be trimmed back for safety. If any trees are close to overhead power lines or other utilities, contact the utility company to coordinate a safe removal.
Overgrown tree canopies can also be damaged during high winds, so you may want to thin mature trees so wind can travel through their canopies easier. If you have young trees, consider staking them and providing support with taut cables.
3. Add Home Protective Equipment
Heavy-duty, functional window shutters make storm preparation much easier when weather turns badparticularly in the event of a tornado watch or hail storm. Modern shutters look nice and can be made to fit with any home's exterior architecture. And many varieties can be safely used from inside the home so as to reduce risk of bodily harm.
In addition to covering windows, you may want to invest in roof clips and garage door braces to help protect these exterior features from coming loose in high winds. Homeowners in areas that suffer flash floods or other potential flooding issues should often have a sump pump installed in basements or lower floors. While some of these emergency measures may not be common among your neighbors, the rise in extreme weather events means it's increasingly smart to be a little over-prepared.
4. Get a Power Plan
Losing power during bad weather can cause unnecessary risk and anxiety for everyone, so come up with a Plan B for providing some light, heat and electricity in an emergency. Undoubtedly the best way to guarantee power is to invest in a home generator that can power a variety of equipment for a large family. Whole-home surge protection can also prevent damage to all your home appliances and devices.
If your property is in a rural location or if the home has aged over the years, you may also want to have a qualified home improvement contractor assess the existing electrical and utility connections to ensure that everything is in good working order and that there aren't any weak spots that can cause fire or other damage in a storm.
It's never fun to prepare for a natural disaster, but doing so can help you approach storm season with confidence and ease the fears of your entire family when the time comes.