(BPT) – Mother Nature can be hard on your home, especially during the summer months. Thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes can cause extensive damage to houses and entire communities. Some preparation, however, can help homeowners defend their homes against severe-weather damage.
“It pays to prepare your home to handle the worst of what Mother Nature dishes out in any season,” says Ed Del Grande, a home improvement expert, author, TV host and spokesperson for Kohler. “Damage resulting from storms can create costly repairs, or even force you to leave your home altogether.”
Here are six home improvements you can undertake to help protect your home from summer storm damage:
1. Repair or replace windows.
Check the condition of your home’s windows as well as the weather stripping around them. Re-caulk windows where stripping is worn, and replace any windows that are damaged. If you live in an area prone to storms and high winds, such as those from hurricanes and tornadoes, consider investing in some plywood or permanent storm shutters that you can keep on hand to cover windows when a storm approaches.
2. Trim trees and shrubs, and take care of landscaping.
Keep your yard free of debris and items like kids’ toys and gardening tools. During storms with high winds, debris and items on the lawn can become projectiles that damage siding and windows. Inspect trees and shrubs to ensure they’re healthy. Remove diseased trees, which are more likely to come down in a storm, and keep trees and shrubs trimmed to minimize the risk of branches damaging your house.
3. Install a standby generator.
Power outages are a common result of severe weather, and losing power can cause further damage to your home. Automatic standby generators, like those from Kohler, turn on within seconds of a utility power outage, run on propane or natural gas and are connected to the home, similar to an outdoor air conditioning unit. Automatic standby generators keep critical appliances operating when the power goes out, ensuring you won’t go without refrigerators, sump pumps, and critical home systems such as air conditioning. If you’re interested in learning more about standby power options, visit www.KohlerGenerators.com for informational videos, sizing calculators and other helpful information.
4. Install a sump pump.
Summer storms frequently bring flooding to many areas of the country. If your home has a basement, investing in a sump pump – which removes water when it accumulates in a basin – can help prevent the costly damage caused by flooding. Heavy rains can quickly fill a basement with water, damaging anything stored there, as well as vital systems such as furnaces or water heaters. A sump pump with an automatic sensor will turn on as soon as it detects water, protecting your basement even if you’re not home when the flooding occurs.
5. Take care of gutters.
Clogged gutters can cause flooding in the basement and leaks in the ceiling during storms with heavy rain. Before storm season arrives, check your gutters and clear them of debris. Repair or replace any damaged parts of the overall system. Gutters provide vital protection for your home, so if yours have seen better days, consider replacing them altogether.
6. Install roof clips/hurricane straps.
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, roof clips or hurricane straps can help ensure the roof stays on your house in high winds. Check building codes in your area, as some states require new construction to be built with these protections. If your home doesn’t have them, a professional can easily retrofit your roof with clips and straps to help prevent the roof from blowing off. Losing the roof is not only a massively costly repair, it means you’ve also lost the part of your home that does the most to protect everything and everyone inside it.
“You can’t control the weather, but you can definitely prepare for it,” Del Grande says. “And you can protect your home and family from bad weather’s worst effects. It’s essential to be proactive, before storm season really gets going.”