Protecting Your Home Against Extreme Weather
Some regions are experiencing stronger winds – and in increasing cases, tornado-strength winds. There are measures you can take to mitigate damage, even in the face of a tornado:
- Check your roof at least once a year to ensure that all components are securely fastened. Some reports suggest that roofs secured with more than the standard amount of screws or nails hold up better during extreme wind. Gable roofs are more susceptible to strong winds and should be braced.
- Revisit your backyard. Make sure sheds and other outbuildings are secured with a foundation or ground anchors.
- If you are planting trees, make sure they are at a safe distance from the house to mitigate risks from felled trees. Research the type of trees you are planting or already grow near your house. Some types do not handle wind as well. Be sure to also clean up dead or rotting branches and trees before storms hit.
- Take note from our southern hurricane-prone friends, shutters help protect windows. Reinforce outside doors with additional heavy-duty deadbolts at the tops and bottoms. Make sure your hinges are securely fastened, and if necessary, use longer screws.
Rains & Flooding:
Depending on the magnitude of flooding, there are a few things you can do to help protect your home:
- Increased rains can cause wood decks to rot. Consider covering your decks with a zinc-based wood preservative to prevent rotting.
- Keep eavestroughs and drains clean so that water easily flows from your roof to where it should.
- Consider installing a monitoring system to watch water levels in drains and elsewhere.
- If you run a sump pump in your basement, check to see that it is running properly. Back up power options, such as a generator, might also be worth considering.
- Ensure that your furnace, water heater and electric panel are elevated.
- For higher risk areas, you might consider constructing barriers and waterproof walls.
Heat waves across Canada have had many of us looking for ways to beat the heat. Here are few tips for helping keep your home cool:
- If you have storm windows, keep them up all year.
- Draw curtains and blinds on windows receiving direct sunlight. Outside awnings can dramatically reduce heat.
- Insulate properly. Make sure a/c in windows are fitted tightly. Check central a/c ducts. Weather-strip doors and windows properly.
- Cover your windows with tinfoil to reflect heat back outside.
- If temperatures drop over night, let the air in, making sure to close up before the heat increases the next day.
With extreme heat often come wild fires. If you live in a fire-prone area, here are some ideas on how to protect your home. More helpful tips can be found on FEMA’s website:
- Create several safety zones around your home: keep vegetation to a minimum within your safety zone, removing vines and shrubbery. Remove tree branches from within 15 feet: from the ground; chimneys and stovepipes; and between tree crowns.
- Research trees before planting and those already growing near your house. Some types are more fire resistant. Avoid pines, junipers and firs.
- Remove dead branches from all trees and shrubs.
- Grass should always be cut to a maximum of 2 inches. Don’t forget, cars can ignite vegetation near driveways.
- Fire spreads more quickly uphill, for all of the above suggestions, increase your safety zone radius.
- Ensure that all branches are cut from power lines. Even better, if possible, have power lines installed underground.
- Avoid mulch. Cedar is highly flammable.
- Keep firewood piles far away (100 ft) from the house, and if possible, uphill.
- BBQs and propane tanks should be at least 15 ft from your house, and have nothing within a 15 ft radius of them. Use a screen over the grill.
- Likewise, highly flammable materials should be sealed and stored away from your home.
Finally, if extreme weather is becoming the norm near your home, you might want to revisit your insurance policy. Many policies do not cover damage related to flooding, earthquakes or sewage backup, for example. Some providers offer additional coverage, but it must be added on.