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The Severe Weather Checklist for Homeowners

Posted by Kevin Leahy on November 30, 2018

Do you get nervous every time you hear the weather people predicting severe weather in their forecast? Heavy rains, northeasters, hurricane and heavy snowstorms make not only your daily commute dicey but also can cause damage to your home.

While you can’t put your home in a bubble to protect it from all severe weather, there are certain measures you can take to minimize the threat of flooding and other damage to your home. There are crucial steps you need to take before, during and after the storm.

Check out these severe weather checklist for homeowners:

Preparing Your Home

The good news is that we typically know which times of year hold the most threat and can prepare ahead of time. It is never a good idea to wait until the last minute because you will never have enough time to totally secure your home. Heed the warning signs before the storm actually hits.

  • Expecting heavy wind and rain? Secure all outside objects that can fly off your home or even into it. Put your outdoor tables and chairs away and any loose gardening decorations. Also remove any antennas or unsecured satellite dishes.
  • Worried about the storm breaking windows? If you have shutters, close them securely for extra protections. If you don’t, consider covering the windows with plywood. This is especially a must during hurricanes and tropical storms.
  • Also give your gutters a good cleaning so that your gutter system has no problems draining away all the heavy rain from your home.
  • Finally, take a walk around your property looking for downed branches and trees that are not in good shape. Trim away any loose branches and consider having a tree removed if it doesn’t look healthy. You don’t want that tree ending up through your roof during severe weather.
  • It is also a good idea to review your homeowner’s insurance policy before the storm hits so you know what will be covered and what won’t be. If you have time to make changes to your insurance policy now is the time to do it. Also, keep your policy number and all important phone numbers in an easily accessible place so you are not having to run around looking for them later.

During the Storm

Of course the most important thing to remember is that your safety and the safety of your loved ones is what is most important. If you weren’t told to evacuate, then hunker down in your home until the severe weather passes. Don’t try to go out driving or run outside for a forgotten item. Stay all together in a part of the home where it is comfortable and dry and away from the windows. Don’t risk injury by going outside. It is not worth it.

During the Aftermath

Once the severe weather calms down, it is time to assess for damages and figure out next steps:

  • Give the inside of your home a quick review checking for flooding and other types of water damage.
  • Check the exterior of your home or any damages. See if there are any loose shingles or other debris in your yard or driveway that indicate damage. Also check for broken windows and flooding in the garage.
  • Make any temporary repairs needed to keep your home secure from the elements, including boarding over any broken windows and patching any holes in your home’s exterior.

Here are some tips for looking for water damage. Rain can seep into your roof and cause water damage inside your home, inside the walls and ceilings leading to the need for expensive repairs so check for telltale signs like water stains on your ceiling and signs wood rot and mold around your windows and on the roof.

If you can safely get up on your roof, check the flashing and roof joints for any damage just in case they need to be replaced. Also check for big and small cracks. If it was a winter storm that hit, the freezing rain or snow can cause cracks in the roof which can lead to little openings for water to seep into your home. Also watch out for ice dams that can collect around the eaves of your house, blocking the water from running off the roof and leading to damage to the roof and inside your home. You can also have a professional roofer come in and do this for you.

Once you have a list of all the damages, make sure you report them to your insurance agent as soon as possible. Typically they will send out an adjuster to look at the damage. Be wary of any random contractors who come to your door offering you their services. During natural disasters, some unscrupulous people will try to take advantage of the situation. Always go with contractors that you have properly vetted.

Even if there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable damage to your roof, it is still a good idea in the few weeks after the bad storm to have a professional roofing expert come out and do a comprehensive inspection to double check for any hidden problems. You don’t want to be caught unawares when the next storm hits.

For extra roof protection all year long, you should also consider purchasing and installing gutter guard, leaf catchers or other products that help you maintain your gutter system with as little hassle as possible. For example, TheSpoutOff are rain gutter outlets that can be easily added to a new gutter system and they are designed with larger openings which prevent leaves and debris from getting clogged up in the gutters. They also make it easier to check on your gutters because it comes with a removable downspout that allows you to inspect the system from the ground instead of having to climb a ladder.

Want to learn more about how TheSpoutOff can help protect your roof from water damage? Contact TheSpoutOff today to learn how to better protect your roof gutter all the time even in severe weather.

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