How to Prepare Your Southwest Florida Home for Hurricane Season
Florida is known for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and world-class golf courses, making it one of the most sought-after destinations for retirees, families, and individuals alike. However, for 6 months out of the year, hurricane season can threaten homes and families. Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 - November 30, but most hurricanes occur between the months of August and October. Properly preparing your home will help protect your investment and keep your family as comfortable as possible. Let's look at some tips for protecting your home and family during hurricane season.
Related Blog: What Should I Do After A Hurricane?
Preparing Your Home For A Hurricane
Your home's windows are highly vulnerable during a hurricane. Strong winds and flying debris can easily shatter them. Broken windows not only mean you have to replace the windows, but also allows for rainwater and debris to enter your home which can cause further damage. You can protect your home's windows by investing in high-quality storm shutters or impact-resistant windows. Both options can provide a strong layer of protection to the glass and withstand strong winds.
However, even if you have impact-rated windows, you may want to consider boarding them up to protect the windows themselves. You can rely on these windows to protect your house, but they are still susceptible to damage. Boarding them up will protect your investment and save you time and money on repairs or replacements.
Prepare Your Roof
Although your roof is already designed to protect your home, it could use additional reinforcement during hurricane season. Two great options are to install roof clips or straps to the roof's frame structure. These measures can help prevent your roof from flying off in the event of strong winds.
Recent changes to building code now mandate truss straps. Any roofs prior to 2020 do not have these, so if you are re-roofing or want to increase your roof’s strength it’s a good idea to ask your contractor about updating your truss straps.
Reinforce Garage Doors
Garage doors are a weak point for many homes. If a garage door is damaged or removed during a hurricane, this can cause significant damage. It is advisable to install high-quality garage door braces that will help keep your garage door in place during a storm.
Secure the Property
Your property can hold many potential threats to your home during a hurricane. First, ensure that all trees and shrubs are properly trimmed, and remove any that hang over your home. Dead and broken branches can easily break off during a hurricane and cause damage. Make sure you also inspect your property for any branches that are hanging over power lines and ask the county to come to trim them up.
Bring in all items from your yard or on your porch that are not secured. They can become flying weapons during a hurricane. This includes:
- Outdoor furniture
- Recreational vehicles (e.g., boats)
If you have any pool furniture, you can throw it in the pool to prevent them from being carried off in the wind.
Purchase a Generator
Power outages are common during hurricanes and can last for days or weeks afterward. It is crucial to have a generator in place that will at least meet your family's most basic needs (e.g., refrigerator, A/C, etc.). The size generator you choose will depend on which home components you want to run. The larger the generator, the more you can run. Before purchasing a generator, it is important to understand what kind of power your house will require (voltage and amperage) and the type of power the generator will supply. These two things need to align!
Prepare for an Evacuation
Depending on the severity of the hurricane, local authorities may order an evacuation. Since you never know when this may occur, it is best to always be ready.
Set up an annual reminder to check through your evacuation supplies so you’ll always be ready in the event of an emergency.
Ensure you have plenty of food and bottled water on hand. This is also advisable if you choose to stay in your home and wait out the hurricane. Tap water can quickly become contaminated during a storm, so you should stock up on bottled drinking water. Additionally, choose non-perishable foods that do not need refrigeration, such as canned and dehydrated meats.
You should also fill up your bathtubs with water in case you need extra water to shower, wash your hands, or flush any toilets. Additionally, if you need to keep anything safe from potential water hazards, you can place them in the dishwasher as long as the seal is intact.
Each family member should also have a bag full of essentials, including clothing, medications, toiletries, and anything else needed, always packed and ready to go at a moment's notice in the event of an emergency evacuation.
If you need to evacuate, make sure that you take pictures of your home in case there is damage and you need it for an insurance claim. If you are concerned about flooding, you may want to consider shutting off all electricity at the main before leaving to prevent a potential short in the system which can cause a fire.
Ensuring your home is built with the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship is the first step to protecting your home during hurricane season. The Aerial Companies have over 40 years of experience building luxurious Florida homes meant to stand the test of time. Whether you are looking for new construction, a remodel, or anything in between, we have the expertise and dedication to build you the home of your dreams. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.