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How to Prepare Your Florida Home for Hurricane Season
June 6, 2018
Is your home ready for a potentially devastating storm? Although the Sunshine State has been pretty lucky in recent years — remaining relatively unscathed from any devastating tropical storms or hurricanes — this doesn’t mean we should risk being unprepared. After all, all it takes is one major hurricane to cause severe damage.
Are you worried about preparing for the impending hurricane season that begins on June 1st?
Want to learn how to best prep your home for the unpopular, tumultuous season?
Check out some of these tips for getting your house hurricane-ready, and hopefully, you can avoid any HVAC issues in the future. Although preparing your home for hurricane season may feel like a daunting task, these tips will help you get started.
1. Secure Your Home
In the past, homeowners were advised to board up the windows of their homes, but this alone offers little protection. Instead, Eric Van De Steeg of Van De Steeg Roofing & Associates recommends securing your home in with window shutters. Functional, non-decorative window shutters can help protect windows from debris.
2. Protect Your Roof
The roof is an integral part of your home’s structure, so you should ensure it is ready for a hurricane of any strength. Homeowners should install straps or additional roof clips and roof chips to secure the roof to the frame structure and keep it from blowing away during a storm. This serves as an additional layer of protection against roof damage.
3. Reinforce Garage Doors
If hurricane-strength winds enter through the garage, the chance of costly and potentially dangerous structural damage skyrockets. Garage door braces can keep your garage door in place and secure during a storm.
4. Secure Loose or Heavy Outdoor Items
All large, heavy items such as cars, boats, and motorcycles should be brought inside to the garage or up to higher ground if it is available.
Similarly, be sure to secure any loose items outside of your home. Scan your yard and bring all heavy items indoors, such as patio furniture, potted plants, bicycles, loose rain gutter and downspouts, tools, children’s toys, and anything else of this nature. High winds can and will blow heavy objects around, causing them to strike your air conditioning unit or other parts of your home.
Don’t forget about your air conditioning unit either. Be sure the condenser is secured the concrete slab outside of your home, and that there isn’t anything that could strike the unit during high winds.
5. Schedule a Maintenance Tune-Up for Your AC System
Scheduling regular maintenance tune-ups with a professional HVAC company is important, but especially before hurricane season. Scheduling a maintenance checkup will ensure your air conditioner is working efficiently before a storm hits.
6. Trim Trees
Trees are beautiful and add value to our homes, but during a tropical storm or hurricane, trees are basically your home’s worst nightmare. Before an approaching storm, take a day to trim the trees in your yard (or hire a professional).
7. Take an Inventory of Your Home
Mother nature is unpredictable, and sometimes homeowners have to deal with a devastating loss. This reality is unfortunate, but by taking an inventory of your possessions, you will be able to rebuild and garner money for your losses quicker than if you forgo taking an inventory. If your home’s inventory is outdated (or nonexistent), spend a weekend photographing and documenting your valuables. These 10 photo tips for compiling your home inventory before hurricane season will help you get started.
8. Invest in a Backup Generator
Having a backup generator in case of emergency could be a wise decision. Better to be safe than sorry in situations like this.
Purchasing a portable generator or installing a generator for use during power outages can be a lifesaver for Florida homeowners. After all, we seldom realize just how much we rely on electricity until it’s gone. Not sure which generator is right for you? Check out this Emergency Generator Buyer’s Guide.
9. Unplug Electronics
It’s also a good idea to unplug all electronics throughout your home to prevent damage caused by an electrical surge. Relying on a surge protector alone would be a risky move, so it is advised against.
10. Build a Safe Room
A safe room, or an ICC 500 storm shelter, is designed for protection from high winds and flooding. Designed to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criteria, safe rooms provide almost perfect protection in cases of extreme weather, including tropical storms and hurricanes.
IFC Safe Rooms are built within your home (such as in the master closet) or as an addition to your home. If your safe room is being built within your home, a concrete lid is placed on top while a steel door is installed. Not only does an IFC Safe Room provide protection from winds up to 250 miles per hour, these rooms also double as a fire-resistant storage center for heirlooms of other family valuables.
While this isn’t a realistic solution for all homeowners, it is a worthwhile consideration. And fortunately, whether you’re integrating a safe room into your new home design or retrofitting a safe room to your current house, both are relatively affordable and straightforward. Find more information on building a safe room for your home.