Preparing your home for winter storms | Home & Garden

With winter approaching, and with the knowledge that we get a few good windstorms in Kitsap County every fall, it’s time to think about preparing your home for storms.

The first thing to think about is the roof of your home. Keep your roof in good shape. The roof is your home’s primary defense against the elements, and an annual roof inspection should be part of your storm preparedness plan. During an inspection, a roofer will check the overall structural integrity of your roof; look for loose shingles that could easily blow away in a storm, and other areas that may be prone to damage. For homeowners who live in areas prone to high winds, a roofing company can install wind-resistant shingles, plug areas where water could enter the home, and add extra fortification to your gables, rafters and sheathing.

Most local roofing companies will do an inspection for a small fee or without charging the homeowner.

Next, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of obstructions and in good repair. This is important to do anyway, but they will need to work overtime during a major storm. Poorly sloped, leaking or obstructed gutters and downspouts can overflow, causing water damage to your home’s exterior or foundation.

Many homeowners like to clean their own gutters, but window-washing companies and gutter placement companies also will do routine cleanings for under $150.

A big item is tending to trees and other things susceptible to wind hazards. If you have trees near your house, have an expert look at them once every year or two to trim away dead limbs that could break off during a storm and crash through your roof. Don’t just hire the guy with a chainsaw who knocks on your door. Find a qualified tree expert and have weak limbs taken down before a storm does it. Make sure they are licensed with the state. And call tree trimmers now, ahead of the storms, to do the inspection because they are busy removing fallen limbs after the storms.

And, when a big storm is in the forecast, look around your property for objects that could become dangerous flying debris. Even heavy structures like playground equipment, porch swings and grills should be secured to the ground. Take your lawn furniture inside the garage.

Another thing to think about is your sump pump. It needs a backup. Often the sump pump is overlooked during storm preparation, yet it provides the main line of defense against basement flooding. If you have a finished basement, install a sump pump with a battery backup to ensure it will continue to operate in the event power is lost.

Be sure to not open the windows. It’s a common misconception that you should open windows in the home in anticipation of a wind event such as a tornado or hurricane. It was incorrectly assumed that it would help move air through the home and prevent it from becoming too pressurized and exploding. This theory has been debunked, and it actually puts your family at a greater risk of injury caused by flying debris.

What about the refrigerators or freezers when the power goes out?

A common solution is to have a gasoline generator that can keep the appliances working. Home generators range in price, based on their size and ability to produce power. Some start as low at $749, with 6,200 watts of power, and range up to $1,889 for those that produces 10,000 watts of power or higher. These type are powered by gasoline or propane and are portable.

There also are permanent standby generators that attach to a concrete pad on the exterior of the home. These generators will provide uninterrupted backup for days because they’re connected directly to your home’s electrical panel and powered by an external fuel supply, such as natural gas, liquid propane, or diesel. Smaller, air-cooled essential-circuit units are slightly larger than portable generators and can energize just a few circuits at a time. Larger, liquid-cooled whole-house systems will do just as their name suggests — they’ll comfortably power an entire home and they can cost upward of $20,000.

Source: Angie’s List