(BPT) - The past year has highlighted the importance of home, further emphasizing why it is so critical to prepare for uncertainties — like severe weather.
With spring just around the corner, The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is encouraging homeowners to act now to be thunderstorm ready ahead of spring severe weather to reduce the risk of costly storm damage.
To help, the nonprofit has updated its Thunderstorm Ready guide with new projects based on the latest scientific testing at its state-of-the-art Research Center in Richburg, South Carolina.
The new guidance builds on recommendations from a decade of full-scale lab testing and field research for home improvement projects at an array of price points, including low- and no-cost ideas, to prepare and protect against high winds, heavy rain, hail and even tornadoes.
“Contrary to popular belief, homeowners are not powerless against severe weather," said Anne Cope, Ph.D, P.E. and Chief Engineer at IBHS. "In fact, even small actions can help reduce property damage. Coupling simple home improvements with ongoing home maintenance gives families the best protection from spring weather events, which wreak havoc year after year.”
Thunderstorm Ready recommends projects to tackle today and last-minute actions to take when severe weather is in the forecast, as well as tips for when it is time for larger home repairs, to help ensure your home performs better in powerful storms. Start now with the following:
Trim your trees. Trees in your yard could pose a significant threat to your home during high winds. Contact an arborist in your area to inspect and trim trees. Are there dead or dying branches? Do branches overhang your home? Remove branches that overhang the house and remove dead, dying or diseased trees.
Get a home lightning surge protector. Installing a home lightning surge protector will keep electrical equipment safe from power surges and save you the hassle and expense of replacing electronics when the storm has passed.
Install protective screens on HVAC units. Screens can prevent costly hail damage to your air conditioning units. In hail-prone regions, installing screens around your home’s air conditioning unit will help reduce the chance of hail damage to coils and fins.
Select a wind-rated garage door. Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable parts of the home in high winds. Wind can push a garage door inward, allowing pressure to push up on the roof and surrounding walls causing structural damage to the entire home. Wind-rated garage doors have been tested to withstand these pressures. If you’re not sure whether your garage door is wind-rated it’s best to purchase a new one labeled to confirm it can withstand winds where you live.
Upgrade to steel gutters and downspouts. Steel is stronger than its more popular counterparts, vinyl and aluminum. In hail-prone regions upgrade to steel products, which are more durable against hail impacts and less likely to leak.
Replace your shingles. Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against severe weather. When it is time to re-roof due to roof age or damage, ask your roofing contractor to follow the FORTIFIED Roof standard, which has proven to make a roof better able to withstand high winds, and use shingles rated Good or Excellent in the IBHS shingle performance ratings shown to better protect against hail.
Don't let Mother Nature catch you off guard this spring. Get started with simple, low-cost ways from Thunderstorm Ready to prepare your home for severe weather, and keep your family safe in the process.