What you Should Look for Before the Storm
While we are still in the winter months we are more susceptible to storms striking, and as the years go on they seem to get worse and worse. Whether you own a home, rent a home or are living in one, there are some preparations you need to make before the storm hits your area. The better prepared you are for the coming storm, the less damage you will take from the rain, floods, mud and anything else that might hit you. It will also keep your family safe and calm so that they can ride out the storm in the comfort of your home without having to worry about anything from the outside.
While most storms are nothing but constant rain, there are worse things that can happen and you will not be able to prepare for them. While the basic preparations that are listed below might help, when lightning strikes you never know when or where it will hit. Hail could be another problem, depending on the size. (Park cars in the garage to help protect them in this case.) And for those in the snow, be sure and plan to be in the house for a day or two.
Seal your Windows and Doors
This doesn’t mean lock them and seal them shut with no chance of escape, but rather to check the seals on them to be sure they are in good condition. Cold air and moisture can seep into cracks and worn seals, which will cause damage and leaks. You want to keep the heat in the house and the water outside. If you don’t know how to seal a window yourself, and there is no time to get a handyman out, you can always use a towel along the bottom to seal the window where it closes. The same can happen for the door, but it will mean that it will be hard for people coming in the door. Laying a towel in front of the door allows people to step on it to dry their feet before they enter the house too, solving two problems at once.
Clean out the Gutters
The gutters that run along the side of your home need to be clear for the water to properly flow off the roof of your house. If they are not, it could cause a back
flow, or a clog that will result in pooled water and extra weight in those gutters. That extra weight could cause them to collapse, and damage your home, yard or worse. Pooled water on the roof will slowly leak into the house and damage it from the inside out. Make sure the gutters are clean all around the house, including any blockage from the main pipe that leads to the street. Pour some water in it to test it yourself or run the hose through it to unclog it.
The gutters along the sidewalk of your house should be swept out too, as debris could fill the storm drain and cause a flood. The less debris that must go down the pipes, the more likely it can keep flowing where the water needs to go.
Check the Roof for Damage
While you are on the roof you might want to check for damage and save yourself some time in case there are leaks. A temporary fix could be to use a tarp over the affected area, so long as it is secure. This will work in a pinch until you can get a professional roofer up there to fix any possible leaks or damage. If you have the tools and equipment (and the time before the storm hits) patch the affected areas yourself.
You want to check for things such as cracks, worn tiles or patches in the roof, and of course holes. A leaky roof may not have a large hole, and they could be hard to spot. Many times, the hole is much smaller than you would think, about the size of a nail. That’s all it takes to cause damage to the rest of the roof, and leak inside the house. Even a garbage bag that is placed and secured over the hole is better protection and security then nothing at all.
Drain the Swimming Pool, Ponds, Bird Baths
If the storm that is coming is said to be a big one, its best to let a bit of the water out of the areas of your home that store it. A pool for example can quickly over fill and pour into the yard, and into the house. You don’t need to drain the entire pool. But maybe 6 inches of water to be safe would do the trick. Most of the time a storm brings no more than 4-6 inches of water and your pool usually has between 4 and 6 inches of space to the top before it starts to over flow itself. A few more inches that are let out is easier to fill in when you are going to use the pool, instead of a huge flooding mess to clean up.
Ponds, and bird baths should be emptied as well since there could be problems if you don’t. The birds won’t be using the bird bath during the storm anyway, so this is just for safety. A man-made pond such as a koi pond requires as much judgement as the swimming pool. If there is enough space then there shouldn’t be a problem, but if you are unsure for any reason than be safe and empty it out a little. Nobody wants to come out after the storm to find all the Koi fish are gone and washed away in the rain.
Trim the Trees and Bushes
It’s not just about doing the chores outside that is important, but rather anything that could contribute to flooding or damage that should be your concern. A yard that hasn’t been trimmed in a week is not the issue, but lots of loose branches or debris in the yard could be. Trim back the tree, to give it less weight, making it less likely to topple over in the store. Clean up any leaves, ticks and debris out of the yard to keep the gutters from overflowing. This is a good time to bring in the windchimes or other hanging décor before the storm hits too.
Check that Emergency Kits are Ready
Since you could be in the house for a day or so you might want to check on the emergency kits in the house. If there isn’t one, now is the time to make one. Have any portable chargers charged and ready in case the power goes out and you need to charge your devices. Keep extra batteries on hand in case you need them. Have a couple of flashlights and candles handy so there will be light to live by when the power goes out. If you have a generator in the garage or storage, be sure that it is working.
These things will not only keep your family safe and secure in a storm, but it will keep your home safe too. You could have more to consider in your home, such as the garage, and any outdoor storage units as well, so be sure you check anything that could be affected by the incoming storm.