Our Guide To Preparing Your Home For Peak Hurricane Season
Here in the Carolinas, we know the damage caused by hurricanes all too well. No matter what part of the state, from the coast to the mountains, we all feel the effects from Carolina hurricanes. During last year's hurricane season, we weathered through storms Michael and Florence. Both of these hurricanes not only severely damaged our towns and roads, but also our homes.
Right now we’re in the midst of peak hurricane season. While hurricane season in the Carolinas lasts from June to November, we are likely to experience the most hurricane activity in August, September and even October. To make sure your home is prepared, we created this guide. Here, you’ll learn how to protect your home against potential hurricane damage, as well as what to do during and after a hurricane.
How To Reduce Your Risk of Damage Before Hurricane Season
As we mentioned earlier, every part of the Carolinas, especially North Carolina, is vulnerable to hurricane damage. We commonly experience storm surges, tornadoes, heavy winds, strong thunderstorms, flooding and even landslides. Heavy winds and flooding pose a significant threat to our homes. Fallen tree limbs can fall on or in your home, and water can seep inside causing substantial damage.
However, there are a few things you can do to help lower the risk of these types of damage happening to you.
Assess Your Home For Cracks
First things first, whether a hurricane is coming or not, you should get your home assessed by a professional. Look for any foundational cracks where water could seep in, especially if your home is located below sea level. Homes that are prone to standing water have a more significant chance of water damage in the event of a hurricane. If any cracks or holes are present, repair them immediately. Not only will this help protect your home from water and pest damage, but also help lower your risk of hurricane damage.
Remove Overhanging Limbs
Next, cut down any old, loose, or overhanging limbs on the trees in your yard. If winds are strong enough (which they likely will be), these limbs could fall into your home, damaging your roof, breaking windows and more.
Storm-Proof the Exterior of Your Home
If you’ve been keeping your roof well-maintained, then loose or missing shingles shouldn’t be as much of a concern. However it’s best to double check your roof for damage or potential risks. Loose or missing shingles could allow water to leak into your home. If damage is severe, the roof could cave in.
Additionally, check windows and doors for cracks or damaged seals. Use caulk to seal around windows and doors to keep water out. Close storm shutters as the storm gets closer to protect your windows from damage.
Finally, evaluate the current condition of your garage door or carport. Hurricane winds can reach exceedingly high speeds, even after they have reached land. Loose garage doors or carports can easily be ripped away by wind, so make sure these parts of your home are secure.
Remove Free-Standing Objects From Your Yard
While we all love a little front porch sittin’ here in the South, you’re not going to be doing much of that with a hurricane around the corner! Collect all porch seats, decorations or backyard furniture and store them. Once again, the wind poses a large threat against these items, and leftover outdoor objects could seriously damage your home.
Protect Your HVAC
Turn off the circuit breaker to your HVAC system and cover it, along with other outdoor equipment, with a tarp to protect it from damage.
Contact Your Home Insurance Provider
An important part of protecting your home against hurricane damage is contacting your home insurance provider. Call to verify that your home is insured against flood damage and that your homeowner’s insurance is up to date.
Purchase The Essentials
When you know a hurricane is close to making landfall, make sure you have everything you need around your home in the event of power outages, flooding or closed roadways. You should have:
Additionally, make sure to top off the fuel tanks on your vehicles before the storm hits. It may be difficult to find gas afterwards, so make sure to stay prepared.
Pro Tip: Place any important documents or memorabilia in a waterproof bag to ensure it’s protected in the event of flooding.
- A first aid kit
- Flashlight with batteries
- Manual can opener, cooking tools, etc.
- A lighter or matches
- A least one gallon of water per person for three to seven days (While this may seem excessive, you can use this water to drink, flush the toilet, take a bath, wash your hands, etc.)
- Non-perishable food to last at least three days
- Pet care items
What To Do During A Hurricane
Once the hurricane or its effects reach your area, remember to stay inside—refrain from going outside as much as possible for your own safety.
Monitor News and Weather Reports
One of the most important things you can do is monitor your local news and weather reports. If you are told to turn off the power, water and gas in your home, do so. If you are ordered to evacuate by local police, do so—if possible. If this isn’t possible, seek secure shelter immediately. Your safety is always more important than the safety of your home. Although we want to do everything we can to make sure your home is protected!
Reduce the Thermostat on the Refrigerator
To try and salvage food in your fridge and freezer, turn the fridge thermostat to the lowest setting and keep the doors closed.
Salvage Your Phone Battery
Finally, refrain from using your phone or other electronic devices that require a charge to operate. If the power goes out, you suffer an injury, or your home sustains severe damage, you will need your phone to contact 911 as well as friends and family.
It’s important to note: If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure, use hurricane ties to secure your home or make the decision to evacuate. These home types are especially vulnerable to high wind speeds and flooding water.
How To Check for Damage After A Hurricane
Just because the hurricane has passed doesn’t mean there won’t be additional storms or flooding. Keep a close eye on your local weather report to check for the latest news.
Walk Around The Outside of Your Home
Carefully walk around the outside of your home. Check for downed power lines and structural damage. Also if you smell gas, stay away from your home and DO NOT carry candles into any dark spaces—use flashlights only.
Inspect these areas outside of your home for damage:
Inspect the inside of your home for damage, especially:
- Roof shingles and flashing
- Windows (glass, seals, shutters, etc.)
- Doors (weather stripping, hinges, etc.)
- Foundational cracks
- Basement or crawlspace for moisture or water damage
- Ceilings for water spots or drips
- Any other signs of water leaks
Report Any Damages
If any damages are found, photograph them to submit to your insurance provider. This is when it comes to handy to make sure your home is fully protected by your homeowner’s insurance before a hurricane hits!
Here at Killingsworth, we want to make sure your home is protected in the event of any natural disaster, hurricanes included. By following these steps, and working closely with your family, friends and local authorities, you and your home should be better protected against potential hurricane damage this hurricane season.
Killingsworth is here for you. Schedule a service with us for any home maintenance you may need.