We know they say time flies when you get older – but really, where has this year gone? We are already well into another hurricane season! Hurricane season officially begins June 1st and continues until November 30th.
There are many ‘Hurricane Safety Checklists’ available. Our team found a checklist on the Red Cross website that is very detailed. Lists tend to outline how you should prepare once a storm is headed your way. But what can we do in advance, far before the storm track is determined, to prepare our homes and ourselves?
Many of us suffer from it won’t happen to me, syndrome. Luckily, this is mostly true, but it’s still not a fair gamble when the two most important things are at stake: life and home. So, beyond the standard batteries and extra water checklist, let’s concentrate on fortifying your home against the power of a hurricane.
Fortifying Your Home
Roof Straps and Clips
After Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, many in the home industry had to think about building codes and better protecting the public. High Wind Standards were introduced in 1995, but it wasn’t until 2002 when Florida’s system was effective. By 2004 the International Building Code was in effect in Florida with some Florida-specific aspects.
Based on the general life, most roofs put on a home before 2002 have been replaced, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your current roof has the protection it needs. Hurricane straps and clips that have been installed by way of retrofitting may not be installed correctly, leaving a homeowner with a false sense of security regarding their roof. Thankfully, insurance companies recognize the increased safety and durability that a properly secured roof provides and offer attractive discounts on homeowner’s insurance for properly installed or retrofitted roofs. Additionally, you can call virtually any Licensed Home Inspector in the State of Florida and request a Wind Mitigation Certification on your roof, which might save you money, or even better, protect your roof!
With the push of a button, giant panels rolled down to cover the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows. During a storm, the idea of something crashing through your windows is beyond scary. Not long ago, Florida building codes came to the rescue once again and required hurricane shutters for all new construction homes. But if you haven’t purchased a home built after 2012, you likely don’t have this protection. Instead, you are left battling the crowds of people trying to get into the local home improvement store to buy up plywood to hammer into the side of their house. Several different levels of protection can be added to any home: hurricane screens, hurricane panels, and hurricane shutters. But, again, insurance companies respect the investment for these items and reflect it in attractive insurance discounts.
Oh No! The Waste Won’t Flow!
Enormous amounts of rain accompany hurricanes. There are many issues Central Floridians face about heavy rain. One issue is the effect of heavy downpours on septic systems. Ensure your septic system is equipped with a backwater valve that will stop any sewage from backing up into your home. Before hurricane season, it may be a good idea to have your septic system pumped and inspected. You can always add a backwater valve if you don’t already have one. A licensed plumber typically does this.
All we want for Christmas is a Generator! Hard-Lined, that is!
Generators are available for every budget. The most common generator is a gas-powered one that sits outside with extension cords running into the house to keep the essential items running. Most people use them to power up refrigerators or other smaller appliances. Sometimes, more significant risks are involved with the loss of power that a standard generator cannot maintain. For example, for those who use well water – the well pump is a terrible thing to be without.
Hard-Lined generator systems are a large, yet important investment. According to Eau Gallie Electric, costs for a whole-house backup system can range from $9000 to $15,000 (higher if you have more than one AC unit). They go on to say, “If your home has natural gas, you will probably be at the lower end of the spectrum. However, if you require a propane tank, you will be at the higher end of the cost spectrum depending on how much run time you need (which determines the propane tank size you need and the cost to initially fill it.)