Thanks largely to climate change, hurricanes, high winds, and other inclement weather patterns have become more prevalent throughout the United States. But while you may know what to do to protect yourself in the event of a storm or natural disaster, do you know how to protect your property? You might take care to unplug appliances (which use only 110 to 250 volts of electricity) or purchase a surge protector, but the exterior of your home and other outdoor spaces on your property are more vulnerable. And if you’ve done everything possible but have still sustained property damage, how do you assess and remedy that damage? We’ll share some tips below.
During the past five years, the U.S. swimming pool industry has grown by 3.8%, meaning that more homeowners are eager to add this feature to their backyards. While it can be a lot of fun, it can also be a lot of work — particularly when a storm is on the horizon. Contrary to popular belief, you should not drain your pool prior to a hurricane or storm. You might believe this could keep your property from flooding, but it could actually cause your pool to pop out of the ground and float away. The water helps to weigh your pool down and will protect it from flying debris. If you want to drain your pool slightly to prevent overflow, lower the water levels no more than one to two feet.
Before a storm, you should turn off the power to your pool equipment. Shut off the circuit breaker that is responsible for your pool’s pump, motor, lighting, and other mechanisms. You should actually unhook any plumbing hoses, lift the pump and store it in a high-up place, and remove the motor and store it away from potentially flood-prone areas. If you have a pool cage or screened-in enclosure, remove the doors or secure everything properly with tie-downs. In the event that a strong storm is heading your way and you feel you’ll probably end up losing the pool cage anyway, it’s recommended that you slash an “X” in the screens; this will reduce wind resistance and may allow you to safeguard the actual structure, which could save you money when replacing it. Make sure to remove any other loose items from the pool area, like water toys, filter lids, and patio furniture before the storm hits.
After the storm, you should clear out all debris from your pool, balance the water pH, and run the filter. Refrain from draining your pool, even if it looks like a giant mess. Inspect the pump and motor for any damage and get any components checked out if you weren’t able to secure them prior to the storm. Wait for your electricity to return before calling a licensed professional to examine any damage.
Your roof is meant to protect your home and your family from the elements, but it may be especially vulnerable to weather-related damage. In fact, 65% of homeowners say their main motivation to repair a roof is weather damage. Of course, anything you can do to prevent this damage can be considered a win. Stay on top of your gutter maintenance and remove any overhanging tree branches well ahead of a storm to reduce the risk of flooding or falling limbs. If you spot any loose or broken shingles, you’ll want to get those repaired ahead of time, as well. Clear any leaves and debris off of your roof and have it inspected each year to identify problems early. You may also want to amp up your attic insulation, as preventing heat loss here can also reduce the risk of ice dam formation (and subsequent water damage).
Sometimes, however, you can’t completely prevent damage to your roof. After the wind or hail subsides, conduct a visual inspection of your roof from the ground and take note of any problems you notice. Check the attic for leaks or water damage, look for missing shingles on the ground, and pay careful attention to the areas where your roof meets the walls of your home. Don’t venture onto the roof yourself; instead, contact a professional to fully assess the extent of any issues.
You might think that your flower pots should be the least of your worries before a storm, but taking preventative steps with your landscaping can prevent a lot of property damage. Make sure to check your yard for diseased or dead trees and call an arborist or tree removal professional to have these trees taken out before a storm hits. Otherwise, the tree might not be sturdy enough to remain in the ground, which could put your home or property in danger. If you’re having landscaping performed this summer, ensure that the ground slopes away from your home to direct water far from the foundation. You might even consider creating a rain garden, which is designed to offer a place for water to pool; they reduce runoff and offer natural irrigation of water-tolerant plants, which can be a win-win for any homeowner. Using heavier mulch in your landscaping can reduce debris cleanup after a storm, as it’s not as likely to float away and get clogged in drains. Installing a downspout diverter or a driveway with drainage can also help.
Still, you may be faced with significant destruction to your landscaping after a big storm. Rather than removing fallen trees yourself, contact an expert to take care of the problem so that you won’t put your safety at risk. You can, however, prune any smaller trees, shrubs, and perennials that were affected by the storm (providing they’re able to recover). If you have any standing water, be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves when removing it. Should you find any drainage issues, have them taken care of now to protect your property for the next storm.
A homeowner’s work is never done. But with these tips in mind, you may feel a bit less shaken when a storm blows through. If you’re able to prevent as much damage as possible and follow proper procedures in the aftermath of inclement weather, you’ll be able to retain your property value without dealing with devastation.