Houston Heating, Cooling, and Electrical

How To Protect Your Home During Hurricane Season

How can homeowners protect their home during hurricane season?

Since 2001, Houston has been hit by several devastating storms, including tropical storm Allison and hurricanes Rita, Ike and Harvey. Together, they killed about 300 people, produced nearly $200 billion in damages and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings. Hurricanes demand close attention from Houstonians, especially homeowners, who can protect their properties with the proper preparations. Those preparations may include:

  • Setting up stand-by power.
  • Setting up surge protection for the home’s appliances.
  • Clearing the property of potential debris.
  • Inspecting potential weak spots in the home.

In the event of a severe hurricane, where widespread devastation is possible, it is also important for families to develop an evacuation plan.

Five ways to make your house safer from the storm

Hurricane season runs from June through November every year, so the best time to prepare is during the early spring, when the weather tends to be a bit calmer. Some hurricane prep requires considerable lead time, so acting before storms emerge is recommended.

There are dozens of things a homeowner can do to protect their property from severe weather. Five of those things include:

1. Consider stand-by power for your property

Stand-by power is what keeps the lights on when the electrical grid is knocked out. It is almost always delivered by a generator, but there is a big variety of generators on the market for homeowners to choose from. They differ in price, features and the amount of power they deliver, so it can be a tough decision.

It’s still a decision worth considering, though, as hurricanes can produce extended outages. As long as there is fuel for the generator, though, it can keep your food fresh and maybe even keep your home cool. There are generators, too, that automatically start up when the power goes out, so you don’t have to expose yourself to a potentially dangerous situation. Remote startup and monitoring is also standard with many generator models, so homeowners can control the system from inside the home.

2. Install surge protection

A licensed, experienced electrician can install surge protection for particular devices, for the entire home, or for both (termed layered protection). Put simply, surges occur when too much electricity flows through your home’s circuits, and they can be caused by many things. Lightning and damage to power lines are two such risks, both of which are common during a hurricane.

Surge protection interrupts this unregulated power spike from reaching sensitive electronics, ensuring your appliances, devices and data are safe from harm.

3. Secure anything that could become debris

Hurricanes can turn nearly anything into a projectile if wind speeds get high enough.

An easy way to keep your house safe is to remove as many of those potential missiles as possible from the property. Lawn furniture and landscaping features are obvious hazards, but also take a close look at your trees. Hurricanes effortlessly snap off tree limbs, which can crash through a window or bring down a power line. Trimming away some of those limbs, especially any that are dead, will make things a little safer. If there is a chance that the entire tree itself could be uprooted, such as with young, smaller trees with shallow root systems, staking them down may improve stability.

Don’t forget to tie the grill down or bring it inside. Even a moderate hurricane can pick it up and turn it into a projectile.

4. Address your home’s vulnerable spots

A comprehensive home inspection will reveal what parts of the building are susceptible to storm damage. This could be extremely valuable knowledge to act on, as hurricanes can exploit most structural weaknesses.

Most properties could use additional protection for the windows, doors (including the garage door) and roof. Storm shutters make sense for windows, and there are impact-resistant models available, too. Impact-resistant doors are also an option. As for the roof, replacing worn shingles or tiles is highly recommended, as is tying down the roof using hurricane straps.

5. Create an evacuation plan

Some hurricanes are so powerful that it’s dangerous to remain in your home, even if it is strengthened against the storm. Category 5 hurricanes (sustained winds in excess of 156 mph) can potentially level almost any building, for example, and many hurricanes also cause deadly floods. To account for very real possibilities, a proactive evacuation plan is recommended.

Your evacuation plan should include everything you and your family will bring with you, including important documentation and medications. It’s also a good idea to inventory everything inside the home so it can be accounted for after the storm. Ideally, your evacuation plan should be executable in 15 minutes or less.

Who can help prepare a home for hurricane season?

Hurricanes can damage homes in numerous ways. They can produce tornadoes, dangerous lightning and extensive flooding. They can wash buildings away in floods or blow them away with high speed winds. There’s almost no limit to what hurricanes can do, so homeowners should consider their entire house during storm proofing.

That means you’ll need several experts to verify your property’s readiness. That likely includes a home inspector, an electrician, an HVAC specialist and various home contractors.

Whoever is involved in your home’s storm readiness, they should have the following:

A state license

Texas requires inspectors, electricians and HVAC specialists to be properly licensed. Licensing is only available after training and education, so it verifies the technician’s abilities.

Insurance

Proof of insurance is also considered a must, as it protects you from any accidents or injuries that occur while work is being done on your home.

Experience

Working with a home’s electrical system or HVAC system is complicated and potentially dangerous. That’s why homeowners should consider experienced professionals first. Ideally, the professional you work with will have references you can contact before agreeing to anything. This is another reason why preparing well in advance is recommended.

Few things can compare to a hurricane’s power, but with adequate planning and with the right people on the job, your home can be better prepared for the storm.

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Memorial, Bunker Hill, Hedwig Village, Piney Point, Hunters Creek, Spring Branch, Tanglewood, River Oaks, Galleria, West University, Bellaire, Katy, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Humble, Spring, Cypress, Waller, Magnolia, Sugarland, Jersey Village, and the Greater Houston Area

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Phone: 281-355-9100
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