Installing a security system or building a fence is a good way to prevent unwanted visitors from entering your home, but how do you protect your home against something nonhuman? Summer is in full swing which means there’s a higher risk of damage caused by storms and other natural disasters, so take the time to prepare your home and prevent headaches down the road. Aside from providing home insurance for storm damage, we’d also like to be a resource for protecting your biggest investment this summer. The following tips can be used by all homeowners, serving as a starting point in protecting your home and property.
The first and most obvious step when it comes to protecting your home is acquiring home insurance, whether it’s insurance for storm damage or other coverages that apply to your specific needs. Next, we’ll look at 6 summer dangers and how to prepare your home for each.
When you think of summer, your initial thought probably has something to do with heat. One of the most common ways to combat summertime heat is air conditioning. Prior to using your air conditioning (or right now if you’re already using it), it’s always good to make sure everything is in good working condition. This entails checking the ductwork for airflow issues, testing your AC unit, replacing filters if necessary, and clearing the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning System (HVAC) unit drainage line. Inspecting and testing these parts of your air conditioning will not only ensure your system is operating efficiently and saving you money, but it will also reduce the risk of any malfunctions occurring and causing damage.
A minor, yet effective, tip for air conditioning safety is to run your ceiling fans counterclockwise during warmer months. This practice will draw cooler air upward and create more circulation, preventing your system from constantly running and working too hard.
One contributing factor to a home’s aesthetic deterioration is insect infestation, which is difficult to combat and can affect its structural integrity. Taking precautions such as properly sealing your home (inside and out), utilizing pesticides, and regularly cleaning areas that pests may be attracted to are a few easy ways to prevent or mitigate pest issues. Common interior areas you’ll want to consider treating with pesticides are baseboards, windows, doors, and any other entrances that are frequently used. If you find pests such as insects in your home, try and find the source of their entry instead of killing them on the spot. This will allow you to properly seal your home and reduce a number of pesticides used on the inside.
When people think of water damage they usually imagine flooding, but there are a few other ways for water to enter your home even if you don’t live near a body of water. Thoroughly inspecting your home’s roof, basement floors, basement walls, basement and upper-level windows, and all gutters should give you an idea of whether or not you should expect any leaks after a rain. Any foundation cracks, unsealed roof holes/seams, incorrectly installed/sealed windows, or insufficient gutter/runoff systems should be addressed as soon as possible.
Sometimes a home can be located on top of an underground spring, unknown to the homeowner and cause issues under certain conditions. This is not a cause for panic, as there are methods to circumvent any hazardous situations. If your home has a sump well, you should inspect it regularly throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons. This will let you know if your sump pump is working properly, and give you an indication of how much water should normally be in your well. If your home is located on top of an underground spring or in a naturally wet area, you should consider installing adequate drainage around your home, allowing surface water to drain away from the foundation and keep your sump pump from running too often and burning up.
Does your home have functioning storm shutters (not just for decoration)? If you’re prone to experiencing high winds, this may be a good investment for you. While inspecting your roof for leaks you should also have a pretty good idea of how it will stand up to high winds. Keeping your yard clear of anything that could easily turn into a projectile is a good way to prevent damage to your siding and other surfaces. It’s also a good idea to be conscious of what your neighbors have in their yards that could potentially collide with your home, such as a trampoline or landscaping décor. If you are friendly with your neighbors you could simply ask them if these items are properly secured, but if they are less receptive to your requests you can always create a barrier for your home. Planting bushes or certain trees can create a nice barrier to protect against flying debris, also giving your property a bit more privacy.
Sometimes even the sturdiest-looking trees can become hazardous with a lot of rain and a little wind, so make sure to keep them properly trimmed. Keeping your trees trimmed is not only beneficial to their health, it will keep heavy limbs from falling and causing damage. Only trim your tree if you can do so safely, acquiring the services of an experienced Arborist is always preferred!
Hail is a bit tricky to protect against, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps to minimize the damage that could occur. Many of the precautions listed in previous tips will help protect against hail damage like checking your roof, trimming trees, and installing storm shutters. An alternative to the storm shutters would be installing and closing blinds to prevent broken glass from flying into your home.
Making sure your entire home is on a surge protection system will minimize the damage that could occur from lightning striking your home or power grid. Of course, unplugging all electronics and appliances is the only way to completely protect them from lightning strike damage, however, it can be very time consuming and wouldn’t be possible if you’re away from home.
Being proactive about the protection and security of your biggest investment should always be a priority, so we hope these tips at least get you thinking about keeping your home safe. Having the applicable types of insurance for your home is always a good idea, giving you something to fall back on if these preventative measures aren’t enough.