Storm-Prepping Your Home

Storm-proofing the house

The Midwest is pounded by storms every year. Even during a light storm season, there are always a few memorable storms and this will not change anytime soon. When preparing for a Midwest storm season, there are always a few essential items to monitor on the home preparation checklist.

Be prepared for a power outage

Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. All homes should be stocked with a generator, possibly a backup generator and an emergency kit in case of a storm-related emergency. This kit should include:

• First aid

• Walkie Talkies

• Portable Phone Chargers (yes, in today’s world cell phones are a necessity).

• Non-perishable food

• Water

• Blankets or sleeping bags, towels and fresh clothes (to dry off and prevent hypothermia).

• Radio

• Flashlights

• Cash

Check your gutters and downspouts

Winter clogs gutters with debris like broken twigs, and spring brings nesting birds and other pests. All can lead to clogged gutters and downspouts that will go unnoticed until they overflow and the basement floods. Grab your ladder and inspect the gutters and downspouts for any potential clogs and remove them.

After cleaning the gutters, use a hose to wash the remaining debris down the downspout; gutter attachments for the garden hose help tremendously. A clogged downspout will dam any water within it or allow only a trickle through.

There are two ways to remove a clog from the downspout. First, start at the bottom of the downspout, attach a nozzle to the garden hose, turn the pressure on high, and feed it up the downspout as you would with a plumbing snake. If this does not work, using an actual plumbing snake should finish the job.

Trim branches

Trim excess and decaying branches away from your house, vehicles or anything valuable outside. Branches are heavy and will cause extensive damage to whatever they land on that isn’t the ground. Take a stroll around the yard and visualize everything that could go wrong if tree branches where to snap. You will spend the same amount of time trimming branches as you will removing them from your yard anyway. Plus, your bank account, insurance and property will appreciate the gesture.

Make sure your insurance is adequate

Take a quick double-check of your homeowner’s insurance policy and make sure you have everything covered for the upcoming storm season. Also, parents with college students using a rental policy through their parents’ insurance should make sure the homeowners policy is adequate for the student’s rental situation.

Monitor your roof

Winter can leave costly yet unnoticed effects on a roof. For instance, ice dams will melt snow, lift the shingles, damage the roof and cause leaks. Unnoticed leaks can cause substantial damage to the interior of the home, especially during a major storm. Make sure to check for leaks in the attic during the first few spring showers.

Inspect the siding

Heavy winds from spring and summer storms can rip siding away from the home. This may lead to costly water damage or an ugly exterior at the very least. Siding is more likely to break free if it’s damaged. Homeowners should talk a walk around their home and repair any damaged siding to prevent further damage from occurring.

Fix damaged weather stripping

The main goal when protecting a home from a storm should be to keep the contents of the storm out of your home. Well-installed weather stripping will not only prevent this, but will lower energy costs by minimizing drafts in the home.

Cover, protect, or store outdoor accessories

It’s always best to cover outdoor accessories, such as the grill, when not in use. But this becomes even more important when a storm is near. It may take a couple of hours, but taking the time to store and protect outdoor accessories can save the monthly budget. Otherwise, homeowners may likely spend their next weekend replacing the damaged property instead of protecting what they already had.