7 Steps To Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

Posted on Jul 18, 2017
7 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

Hazardous weather impacts New York and New Jersey residents frequently — including hurricanes.  In fact, the Insurance Information Institute’s reports that homes in the states of New York and New Jersey had property damage because of one of the three most costly hurricanes in the U.S.

Many people have already experienced the impact of flooding, long-term power outage, debris, property destruction and other impacts that nature’s fury can have on their daily lives. While you can’t stop a hurricane from hitting you, there are steps you can take that will help ensure you and your home’s safety when one hits.

Take the steps necessary, including those listed below, before you evacuate your home due to a hurricane

1. Caulk around windows and doors. Hurricanes bring unexpected strength in both wind and rain. This wind-driven rain can lead to moisture damage in your home, even when your home stays intact.

2. Secure and seal your roof. The roof of your home is your home’s largest potential opening and water and wind can do terrible damage if they penetrate through your roof. Take the time to inspect your roof to ensure all tiles or shingles are secure, and none are missing or cracked. You may want to consider investing funds to seal the roof deck. Typically, this involves covering the entire roof with a membrane that will seal water out or put waterproof tape over the seams of the roof.

3. Put foot and head bolts on entry doors.  Provide extra protection to your doors against the wind by installing bolts on both the bottom and top of the doors.

4. Make or buy window covers or invest in storm shutters. Buy commercially-made storm shutters or cut window covers made from marine or exterior grade plywood that’s a minimum of five-eighths of an inch thick to fit each of your individual windows. If you’re covering bigger pieces of glass, like sliding doors, use reinforced, heavier plywood.

5. Strengthen garage doors. During a hurricane, two-car, double-wide garage doors can pose a problem. Since they’re so big, as high winds blow, they wobble and can pull out of their tracks or worse, collapse from the pressure of the wind. There are building codes established in certain parts of the U.S. that require garage doors to withstand high winds. You can strengthen some garage doors with retrofit kits. Just contact your local building supplies, dealer.

6. Secure your air conditioner. Many people forget to secure their AC unit outdoors when they prepare their home for a hurricane. The air conditioner can be one of the costliest items to replace when damaged. After a hurricane is predicted, you should include your AC unit in your preparations by:

    • Turning your AC unit off both at the thermostat and the circuit breaker.  This will help to avoid a potential power surge that could become a shock or fire hazard due to flooding.
    • Securing your unit with hurricane straps. Make sure the bolts that secure your AC unit are not rusty and are secure. If you can move the unit, it may cause severe
    • Clearing the surrounding area around your AC system. Many people will move loose items like plants, furniture, or toys indoors, but it’s particularly important that you put away any objects that high winds could toss around and damage your unit.

Once the hurricane has passed, check your AC unit to ensure it didn’t sustain any damage before turning it back on. If you notice or suspect any damage, give an expert technician a call to come and inspect the system to ensure it operates safely.

7. Clear your lawn. Another place you could have loose objects that could act like projectiles is outdoor items in your yard. Items at risk are those that strong winds can pick up and toss around like lawn furniture, your grill, garden gnomes any other outdoor items. You should either secure these items to the ground or store them inside. Also, hurricane winds can cause branches and trees to fall, therefore, before the hurricane season, trim branches and get rid of damaged limbs and trees that could cause damage to your property.

Of course, your family’s safety should be your first priority, but making sure you secure your property should be your second. If it comes time to evacuate, then evacuate.

One last thing you shouldn’t forget about: your home insurance. Call us here at Otterstedt Insurance Agency at 201-227-1800 to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for hurricanes. Don’t wait until the last minute when the hurricane is about to hit.

You’ll want to have flood protection too, which many people don’t realize is not a standard part of a homeowner’s policy. In addition, wind damage may also not be a standard coverage in your homeowner’s policy. Because of this, you’ll likely need to purchase separate coverages for flooding and wind damage to ensure you’re adequately covered if a hurricane’s wrath hits your home.

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