When the stormy season is on the horizon or you live in an area known to be hit with severe weather, you need to have a game plan to increase the odds of your home weathering the brunt of these external factors. Of course, it is recommended that you make emergency kits and prepare an emergency plan to ensure the safety of your family. However, there are other maintenance projects you can do before external factors kick in that also protect your home as well as your loved ones.
While an offensive and defensive strategy does not work on every force of nature – a category 3 hurricane, an earthquake off the Richter scale, or an intense tornado will win every time – it can help to plan regular maintenance for your home that can help it withstand certain things that Mother Nature might throw at it.
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It is possible to win in the game against bad weather or other natural events that can wreak havoc on your home. Below is a list of maintenance tips designed to help you increase the likelihood of greater safety and decreased damages.
- Storms (including hurricanes and tornados)
- Regularly check your service panel and shut-offs to make sure that everything is in good working order.
- Set a schedule for cleaning out and checking all wood-burning fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Not only do these keep you warm, but they also could become a safety hazard if they are not cleaned out.
- Install surge protectors to increase the life of your appliances and home electronics. A surge in electricity from a power line that has been struck by lightning or knocked down by a storm can destroy these devices.
- Check all seals around windows and doors to maintain their integrity and keep you warm. Storm windows may also be necessary in certain areas. These will protect the glass from breaking in the midst of high winds as well as minimize other damage to the structure and maintain your home’s integrity.
- For those areas unfortunate enough to be in a fault zone -- particularly California, which experiences the majority of earthquakes in the nation – it is important to undergo some regular maintenance checks to help increase the chances of stabilizing your home when the unexpected rocking and rolling starts.
- Add straps to the water heater and secure all items that you feel might fall down during an earthquake, including heavy furniture.
- Install flexible connectors to gas appliances to reduce the risk of fire.
- Consider replacing regular glass windows with those made from safety glass or those covered with a multi-layered Mylar film.
- Check your gutters and downspouts. It is important that all debris, including leaves, dirt, twigs, etc., is cleared away so that water can run down and away from your home.
- Inspect your sump pump, which is typically installed in those regional areas that have a basement and experience flooding. All debris should be cleared and it should be tested to ensure that it can effectively remove water.
- Clear all flood drains around your property. Like the other areas that collect debris over the year, drains also have a tendency to be a collection site for dirt and leaves.
- Elevate the furnace and water heater by placing them on blocks or a concrete platform so that they might avoid any flooding that could damage these major appliances.
- Consider adding a flood alarm that can alert you to the fact that your water is taking on water. This should allow you to start implementing a strategy to begin pumping out the water.
One-Upping External Factors
There are many general maintenance tips that can help you be on the offensive rather than the defensive when it comes to the possibility of external factors doing damage to your home:
- Regularly inspect your roof each year for loose tiles and debris as well as patch any areas that may indicate possible leak issues in the future.
- Have a professional look at the heating and cooling systems each year to make sure that they are working order and can help protect you and your home through bad weather.
- Check all pipes and plumbing for leaks or cracks. Prepare these for the winter months so that your house is not affected from bursting pipes. Not maintaining these areas of the home can result in damage far worse than what many winter storms could unleash.
Factoring in Maintenance Records
It is recommended that you keep a checklist so that you know what you must get ready for each storm season or what aspects of your home should be inspected regularly to ensure that it withstands any external factors that may appear. To help you through the process of maintaining real-time maintenance records are innovative services offered by companies like Ownersite Technologies.
Records can be maintained on the fly through your wireless devices or on your desktop computer because the service is an online system that provides you with a simple and effective means of tracking what you have done to fortify your home. These services put the power in your hands to control how you minimize the effect of outside factors to your home’s reliability and safety. This is especially effective when you trying to have the upper hand over more than one property and have other investment properties to be concerned about. Whether it is a vacation home or a rental, the value-added service that Ownersite brings you becomes one of your best lines of proactive defense against the weather while, allowing you to track tax deductible expenses or any losses incurred from damage that can be quickly be sent via email to your insurance agent. Although maintenance and detailed record-keeping cannot save your home in every situation, it can improve the odds in milder conditions while providing an additional layer of comfort and confidence that you can recover quickly and comfortably.
Ownersite Technologies is happy to offer a free 30-day trial of Home Ownersite, the comprehensive, web-based tool that simplifies home inventories and recordkeeping. With plans starting at only $29.95 per year, Home Ownersite is the perfect tool to manage the complete ownership lifecycle for your home and valuables. To start your free, no-obligation trial or to review the different plans available, please click here.