When we talk about preparing for a hurricane, we often think of the immediate actions we take when a hurricane is already bearing down on us. From boarding up windows and stocking up on sandbags to clearing your home’s exterior of loose objects and hurricane food prep, these “active” tasks can help protect your home, family, and possessions when a storm is headed your way.
Related: Six Hurricane Preparation Tips for Homeowners
But why wait until the last minute to start taking steps to safeguard your property? There are some things you can do before hurricane season to shore up your defenses. Known as passive hurricane preparation, these home hardening measures can be done at any time — and offer maximum protection from extreme weather conditions.
Ready to start proactively preparing your home for hurricanes and other extreme weather events? Begin with these five passive hurricane preparation tips.
Install impact-resistant windows and doors
Featuring our Sentinel French Door 160 and Picture Window 130
When it comes to storm damage, windows and doors are especially vulnerable areas of your home. Upgrading to impact-resistant windows not only protects from wind-related damage, but also helps to minimize the risk of water intrusion. And, of course, these windows protect the most important things of all from broken glass and other debris: you and your family.
While active hurricane prep list tasks like preparing windows for a hurricane by nailing up plywood and installing hurricane shutters are better than nothing, impact-resistant windows and doors are likely the single best thing you can do for hurricane protection. There’s a reason why demand for impact-resistant windows and doors has been skyrocketing in recent years. Between the fact that extreme weather events are only expected to grow and the many other benefits of impact-resistant windows, their value is undeniable.
Related: The Benefits of Vinyl Windows and Aluminum Windows
The best part? Once you’ve chosen impact-resistant windows and had them installed, you’re all set. Your windows will require no additional protection. This will allow you to focus on other priorities — and grant you wonderful peace of mind — when the forecasters are predicting a storm.
Retrofit your roof
Retrofitting simply means improving a structure that’s already been built. In the case of extreme weather, homes that were built decades ago lack modern hurricane protections, and may fail to meet contemporary building standards. Retrofitting can help you meet the latest recommendations to best protect your home.
Depending on the type of roof you have and what was involved in its original construction, you have different options for retrofitting your roof. An experienced roofing contractor can help you determine the repairs that will safeguard your home without compromising your roof’s structure.
Scheduling regular annual roof inspections before the start of hurricane season can help you manage small problems before they become big ones. A professional will know exactly which signs to look for, such as missing and curling shingles, sunken areas, and granules in your downspouts and gutters. Your attic may also have telltale signs of water damage. Having any issues repaired prior to a storm can keep catastrophe at bay when the winds start to blow.
Upgrade to a wind-rated garage door
Your garage door covers the biggest hole in your home. Is it up to the challenge of protecting your home from powerful storm winds? According to Bob Vila, a garage door failure during a hurricane can leave a 300 square foot breach in your home envelope. This, in turn, can cause a pressure change with the potential to blow off the roof and/or create other fissures. Take an important preventative step by upgrading to a wind-rated garage door.
Invest in a whole-house surge protection system
Dangerous power surges happen for many reasons, including severe weather. While unplugging your electronics before a storm is a short-term solution, the best way to prevent power surges is by investing in a whole house surge suppressor. These devices connect directly to the fuse box of your home and prevent power surges from occurring at the course.
While hurricanes aren’t known for a lot of lightning, scientists have noticed significant lightning activity in some storms. Take 2005’s Hurricane Emily, for example. Experts attribute the significant amount of lightning that occurred during this Category 5 hurricane to its strength.
The takeaway? Bigger hurricanes may be an even bigger threat when you factor in the increased risk of power surges due to lightning strikes. Plus, the same areas prone to hurricane activity also tend to see frequent and more severe thunderstorms throughout the year. Why take the chance, when you can take measures now to prevent dangerous outcomes?
Schedule a wind mitigation inspection
During a wind mitigation inspection, a certified inspector will evaluate the degree to which your home is prepared to withstand strong winds. The inspector will identify fixes to decrease the amount of damage your home might suffer during the strong winds of a hurricane or other big storms. Factors include roof shape, age and type of roof coverings, how the rafters are attached to the exterior walls, and several others.
An added benefit of a wind mitigation inspection? You may be entitled to reductions on your home insurance premiums.
Related: 4 Ways to See if You’re Prepared for the Next Hurricane
Why wait until a storm is just weeks, days, or minutes away when you can start preparing now? To learn more about keeping your home and property safe before, during, and after hurricane season, download our free 2021 Hurricane Guide today.