The start of the 2018 hurricane season has officially begun. We are already seeing the typical rainy season patterns with scattered thunderstorms. The warm waters of the Gulf provide optimal conditions for tropical depressions to transform into major storms or hurricanes.
It was just six months ago when Naples and Marco Island took a direct hit from category 4 Hurricane Irma. Many Southwest Florida homes have yet to be fully repaired and restored after that catastrophic event. Whether you stay in your home or leave your property during a hurricane, you will want to make sure that your home is properly prepared to minimize damage. When you remain in your home, there are some additional considerations that are essential for the safety of your family.
What follows are 8 simple and affordable things you can do as a homeowner to prepare and minimize loss to your home. Some of these tips are especially important for safeguarding people who remain in their homes during a major storm.
Damage to your appliances, electronic devices and air conditioning from power surges during a storm can be prevented or minimized through low cost power surge protectors. One option is to install power strips with integrated surge protectors in your electrical panel. Another option in Southwest Florida is to sign up for surge protection offered by Florida Power & Light. This can afford some surge protection for your home for a low monthly fee.
Purchase and install a manufacture approved protective cover for your outdoor AC unit. Your AC can be damaged from flying debris during high winds. Use of unapproved bags and covers may trap damaging moisture inside your unit. Use of any unapproved covers can void your manufacturer’s warranty.
If you do not have storm shutters, stock up on plywood well in advance of a major storm as it may be in short supply when you need it the most. When a hurricane is imminent, cover all windows and glass doors with plywood or shutters.
If you can’t afford shutters for your entire home, consider investing in a few shutters for windows and doors installed in strategic areas. Removable shutters in upper and lower stories can save your life if you need to quickly and easily exit your property. This might be an upper story window that would allow access to the roof for vertically evacuation due to flooding. And in the event of a fire, you will want to plan for an exit route from all areas of your home where you or your family may be trapped. Make sure you choose shutters that can be removed easily from the inside.
Besides making your home more energy efficient, leaky windows and doors can allow water to enter your property where it can cause water damage and mold growth. Proper sealing of windows and doors is an important and affordable measure to take.
Secure all lawn furniture, toys and other objects that could become airborne and damage your property from strong winds. Trim and discard low-hanging branches as well as unstable shrubs and trees.
A major reason for flooding and water damage in the home is clogged gutters and downspouts that can lead to overflow and pooled water around your home’s foundation. Besides clearing gutters and downspouts from debris, verify that water flows properly from your roof and away from your home.
Cracks in concrete slabs caused by settling and soil and water erosion can move, deteriorate and ultimately break your foundation. Concrete foundations are porous, allowing water to fill in the pores. Over time, water can break down the concrete, causing cracks in the foundation. These cracks can shift the foundation, causing settling problems and putting pressure on water pipes underground. Pooling of water around the foundation can also soften the soil and cause the home to sink. Water leaks under the slab from leaking sewer lines and water pipes may be more difficult to detect. Invasive root systems from large trees can also damage foundations and lead to leaking or ruptured water pipes.
Detecting early warning signs of foundation problems is critical to the prevention of water damage and other costly repairs. Cracks in ceilings or walls inside your home may be a symptom of a foundation affected by standing water. Other signs include doors that stick, sagging or warped floors, cracking tiles, pooling of water near a slab foundation, a musty odor, and/or a wet crawl space after it rains. Signs of foundation problems can be found in all rooms of your home.
Too many homeowners learned after Irma that properties can be flooded even when they are not in a classified “flood zone.” Homeowners insurance policies may cover hurricane damage but not flood damage. Take time to review your homeowner’s policy terms. Verify policy information with your insurance company to determine if you are adequately protected. If you decide to add flood insurance, coverage may not be immediate. Be aware that a flood policy will not be effective within 30 days of a hurricane and you may not be able to add a policy when hurricane threats are imminent in your state.
Whether you evacuate or remain in your home during a major storm, these 8 tips will help you to prepare and protect your property from the damaging effects of a hurricane.
Even the best preparation of your property will not guarantee that you will not have water damage or flooding due to a hurricane. If you are in the Southwest Florida area and have water damage, fire damage or mold, consider Armstrong Water Mold Cleanup & Restorations. We are a specialty full service Florida water damage general contractor you can depend on to do a quality fully guaranteed job and take the stress off of you. We handle everything from water leaks, flood damage, and mold cleanup to the full restoration of your home after a major disaster.
Armstrong is one of only a few companies trusted and recommended by leading homeowners insurance companies. Our detailed documents accurately define repair and replacement needs and costs. This expedites claims and maximizes your benefits for covered expenses.
Armstrong will help you to get through one of your most difficult water damage repair challenges in the best possible way through our one-stop total peace of mind service – the most complete, comprehensive 24/7 customer service in the area today.
We are reachable 24/7 to inspect and solve water damage and mold problems. The inspection and estimate are free. Call 239-541-4200 or contact us at ArmstrongWaterMoldCleanup.com
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