Tips to Avoid Weather Damage to Your Home
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There’s a reason we build shelters to protect ourselves from the elements—it gets brutal out there. Of course, the barrier that protects us from the heat, wind, and snow takes a beating from those extreme weather conditions. Over time (and sometimes immediately), your home can suffer weather-related damage.
While some damage can be easily fixed, other types of damage require further inspection. And in some cases, you’ll even need to boost your insurance policy. Consider the following tips if you live in a climate that’s prone to severe weather events.
These tips are brought to you by J.D.R. Hawkins, an award-winning and bestselling author of several fiction and one non-fiction book about the U.S. Civil War. You can find her Renegade series of novels on her website, JDRHawkins.com
Clean Your Gutters
If water can’t flow freely through your gutters, it can leak into your house, causing damage to the walls and even the foundation, compromising the home’s structure and stability. Remove any leaves or debris from the gutters, or you could hire a service to clean your gutters at least once a year. Another option is to use gutter guards to help prevent debris from getting lodged into the gutters in the first place.
If you’ve had clogged gutters, you can check for water damage yourself. Look for stains, warping, mold, and standing water. If you find any of these issues, you’ll want to have them addressed right away to avoid further damage.
Prune Your Trees
A dead branch (or even a live one) can break in a storm, causing damage to your roof, windows, or exterior walls. If you’re unable to do it, hire a tree service to remove dead branches and prune the trees to promote their healthy growth. This will also help prevent any unbalanced growth that could lead to the tree leaning or even falling against your home in the future. Dead trees can be a serious hazard, so consider hiring professionals to lend a hand. It’s easy to find reputable contractors via the members list of the LVBA.
Secure Items or Put Them Away
When the forecast calls for an event like a tornado, your best bet is to secure items like patio furniture, grills and the like. A flying chair could easily bust through a window and open your home up to more damage. Before snow season descends, make a point to clean and stow away any of those items so they come out good as new in the spring.
Protect the Pipes
When winter is on the horizon, you’ll want to keep your water pipes in mind. A burst water pipe can cause extensive damage to your property, and it doesn’t take much to help keep your pipes safe and warm. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or heat tape and seal any cracks or leaks. On severely cold days, leave a faucet or two dripping and open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
The Time to Make Repairs is Now
Making needed repairs before a weather event can prevent more serious damage like installing storm windows and replacing cracked or damaged gutters. Keeping up with regular roof maintenance and repair is essential, as replacing an entire roof is fairly expensive. Also, if you live in a highly competitive market and intend to sell your home in the future, those repairs will pay off in the long run.
If your home endures a big storm, you’ll want to have a roof inspection, particularly if you know your roof was hit by debris or hail. While you can glance at your roof and spot a missing shingle or two, a professional will be able to see the bigger issues and details that can lead to major problems, like damaged flashing or how old the roof is.
Examine Your Insurance Policies
It never hurts to make sure you understand what your homeowner’s policy will cover—and what it won’t—in case of weather-related damage. According to Nationwide, nearly two-thirds of homes are underinsured. Living in an area that suffers extreme climate could be a compelling reason to boost your coverage. For example, you might need supplemental flood insurance to cover the costs of damage related to severe flooding if you’ve seen that sort of destruction in your community.
The adage about an ounce of prevention holds true when it comes to your home. To keep your home in top condition, address damage as it occurs and do what you can to avoid it in the first place. Your property value will thank you for it!