Calm Before the Storm

Calm Before the Storm

Everyone is always calm before the storm hits, but when there’s a storm on the way, most people freak out. They load up on water, batteries, flashlight, and canned foods. But, what about the home? If you’re the type of person who likes to be fully prepared, here’s what you need to know about protecting your fortress.

Clean Out Your Gutters and Downspouts

Clean out your gutters and downspouts, because this is where water will back up and cause flooding right at the foundation of your home. Once you’ve had a thorough cleaning, it might be time to consider shielded gutters, which will resist leaves and other debris. They will keep your gutters clean, while also allowing rainwater to safely drain away.

Inspect Your Roof and Skylights

Ferguson Roofing Company contractors can inspect your roof and skylights. And, you should probably have it done every year or at least every other year. Skylights are notorious for leaking, so pay extra special attention to them. Gravity often forces the seal on internal glass packs to fail.

Because these glass packs use metal spacer systems, and because heat is constantly rising out of the home, it’s also not uncommon for skylights to fail in the fall, winter, and spring, when the outdoor temperatures may be significantly warmer than the indoor temperatures. The heat coming from the attic will cause the metal and glass to shift and expand, while the cold air coming from above will cause the glass and spacer to want to contract. The result is seal failure of the glass pack.

Replacing skylights with newer systems using “warm edge spacer” technology might help reduce the risk or incidence of failure, but there are usually no guarantees. So, all other things being equal, buy the most expensive skylight you can afford, and make sure the company backs the product with a warranty – lifetime, if possible.

Roofing materials wear out, so you should have them periodically inspected, especially after a storm, which can reduce the roof shingles’ useful lifespan. Butterflying, torn, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

Moisture that works its way under the shingles, and is allowed to sit, will rot out the decking underneath, which will then need to be replaced.

Test Smoke Detectors At Least Once Every 6 Months

Test your smoke alarm at least once every 6 months. As long as the batteries are working, you should be fine. However, you may want to test it with a little smoke. If you don’t smoke, buy a pack of cigarettes or some incense.

Light up, and wave the smoke in front of the detector. If it goes off, it’s working. If it doesn’t, it’s time to replace the device or check the batteries.

Prune Back Trees and Shrubs

Prune back trees and shrubs so that they are not blocking windows or hanging over your roof – especially large trees with branches that could break off and crash through your roof, damaging it.

Check Weather Stripping

Check weather stripping on all doors and windows. Weather stripping is usually not something that will fail quickly and catastrophically. It usually fails over time, wearing down from years of use. Rubber on the seals may rot or dry out, become moldy, or develop micro-tears. Replace any damaged weather stripping, and seal all doors and windows as needed.

Get a Soil Study Done, and Have Your Foundation Checked

Bring in a soil engineer and have the soil tested for porosity. Then, check your foundation. This will help you better understand the risks of flooding in your foundation. Flooding can cause foundation and structural damage, which is expensive to repair. The engineer will be able to give you guidelines to prevent damage and fix any problems you’re having now with flooding.

Stock Up On Survival Food

Canned food is OK, but dehydrated survival food is real food, and it won’t make you feel like you’re eating out of a can. Plus, not all canned foods are “balanced” in the sense that you’re not always getting balanced nutrition.

Most people don’t worry about this because they don’t expect to be out of power for more than a day or two. But, even if power is restored within 24 hours, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to go to the store during that time.

If roads are blocked off, or if there is some other reason that supplies can’t be brought in to your area, then you will want to have food that only needs to be re-hydrated and constitutes a full, balanced meal.

It might be a step or two more complex than canned foods, but you’ll probably enjoy it more and be better prepared if you go this route.

Of course, you will also need to buy a water filter capable of filtering non-potable water – water that may contain viruses, bacteria, and other critters you wouldn’t want to ingest.

These filters aren’t sold in your average grocery store. They are, however, available in camping and sporting goods stores, online, and through various “prepper” and survivalist-themed stores.


Matthew King is part of a property maintenance team and likes to offer his insights on keeping your home in top shape. He is a regular contributor for a number of DIY and home websites.


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