If you’ve lived in the South for more than 15 minutes, you already know that the weather south of the Mason Dixon line can change without warning. From unexpected hailstorms to excessive heat in the summer, the weather outside can have a significant and long-lasting effect on your home. As a responsible homeowner, it is your responsibility to protect your property. Here are a few ways to safeguard your most valuable investment.
Understand weather patterns.
Thanks to technology and the widespread availability of information, you don’t need a degree in meteorology to track the weather. Pay close attention to what’s going on in your area so that you know what to expect. Interactive Hail Maps is a great free resource. Once you know what is headed your way, you can take steps to prevent damage. For example, if high winds or hail are expected, you can move your family to the most interior room of your home. You can also cover exterior features, such as the hot tub or flowerbeds, with blankets to protect them from impact.
Unfortunately, the exterior of your home isn’t always that easy to protect. Storms can damage the roof, crack the asphalt, and tear off siding in an instant. Any damage sustained must be fixed as soon as the skies clear to avoid further problems later on. As you might expect, this is not always budget-friendly. HomeAdvisor estimates that you’ll spend anywhere from $2,269 to $13,623 on things like siding or roof repairs. Make a point to get multiple estimates and contact your insurance company to find out if you are covered.
Are your windows ready?
According to Energy.gov, older windows openly invite heat from the outside into your home. Plus, outdated windows don’t offer UV protection. This is a problem because light from the sun can fade things like carpet, artwork, and furniture. Another issue here is that ill-fitting or poorly sealed windows can allow water to infiltrate your house, and that can trigger everything from mold to wood rot, both issues that, left unchecked, can render your home inhabitable.
If your windows are more than 10 years old, it may be time to make sure your windows are sealed properly. Available through Lee Company, you can have a professional come out to your home to inspect your windows to make sure they are not causing damage to your home.
Prepare for flooding.
Even if you don’t live in a floodplain, your property is not immune from the wrath of Mother Nature’s soggy vengeance. Flooding can happen at any time and will probably affect you when you least expect it.
Get your home water-ready by investing in a sump pump (if you have a basement) and keeping your gutters cleaned. You should also prioritize your landscaping plan, and the ground around the perimeter of your property should slope away from the building. Today’s Homeowner suggests 6” for the first 10’. If water does permeate your property, shut off the electrical and then contact a professional for water damage remediation.
Remember, it is not what you do during bad weather that matters, it’s what you do to your home before and after that protects your assets. Start your home-protection efforts by understanding how things like rain, wind, hail, and heat are a threat. Once you know what you are likely to face, get to work. If you aren’t comfortable doing things like replacing your windows or cleaning gutters, don’t be afraid to call a pro. Home maintenance and repairs are expenses you can’t afford not to incur.
Written by Natalie Jones