Posted: July 26, 2016
Posted: July 26, 2016
Posted by: Kathryn Mehan, Propane Manager
Already this summer we have seen torrential rain, heavy winds, flash flooding, downed trees, and lightning strikes that remind us that we need to be ready for summer weather — especially as we get deeper into hurricane season. Here are some important steps you still have time to do to protect your home from potential disasters.
It’s not too late to trim the trees. Have an arborist come out to inspect the trees near your home to identify any unhealthy trees and branches that could come crashing down on your house or property.
Broken, flying branches and falling trees are some of the most common — and expensive — causes of damage and may leave you with a big chunk of the bill. It can cost a few thousand dollars to clean up a fallen tree and your homeowner’s insurance may not cover the entire expense.
If you didn’t get to it in the spring, be sure to clean gutters and waterproof your house. Remove leaves and other debris from your gutters, which can clog them and send water pouring down the side of your house or under the roof. Check for foundation cracks that could let water into your house. Inspect your roof and make sure none of the shingles or tiles is damaged and that the vents are all sealed properly so wind-driven rain won’t get into your house.
Get a backup sump pump. It is important it to have a good, reliable sump pump, especially if you have a finished basement. If your sump pump stops working or gets overloaded, the water could pour into your house. Have a battery backup for your sump pump, in case you lose electricity. Consider adding a battery-powered sump pump as a second pump, which gives you twice the capacity.
Inspect your yard. Be sure that your yard is graded so that storm water runs away from your home and not into it. Secure lawn furniture and other outdoor items before a storm arrives, so strong winds don’t turn them into projectiles.
Prepare an emergency kit and know where it is. The kit should contain a battery-operated radio (and extra batteries), flashlights and a landline phone that isn’t cordless (so you don’t depend on electricity). Keep some extra cash on hand in case ATMs are disabled for a while, and keep a car phone charger in your car. The Red Cross recommends stocking a three-day supply of food and water for everyone in your house along with a first-aid kit and a seven-day supply of medications.
Consider a generator. Keeping the electricity running during a power outage can also help protect your home — by powering your alarm system, sump pump and air conditioning. Automatic standby generators turn on automatically when the power goes out and can run on either natural gas or propane.
Update your home’s inventory. If the unimaginable happens and your house is destroyed, you may have trouble remembering everything you owned and may not be able to put your hands on receipts for valuable items. Create an up-to-date home inventory, or update one you already have to help speed up the claims process after a disaster. Use your phone to take pictures or videos and save them in the cloud or in an e-mail, so you can access them in an emergency. There are also apps, such as the one from KnowYourStuff.org, that make gathering information easy.