With Hurricane Irene moving up the eastern seaboard, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to preparing your home and family for whatever the storm may bring. A few simple preventative steps, outlined below, may help you to avoid costly repairs once the storms have passed.
Clear away yard debris and dead/dying branches
Large branches or fallen trees can easily be tossed about by high winds during a storm. If you have trees near your home, be sure to trim any dead or dying branches, or at least ask your landscaper to do so at your next service visit.
Make sure gutters are kept clean and in good shape
Before the storm arrives, remove any leaves, pine needles, branches, or other debris from the gutter system. Also, perform a visual check to be sure there are no damaged areas. Clogged, leaky, or broken gutters can fail to properly drain water from your house, which may cause flooding and property damage.
Make sure areaway and storm drains are clear
If your basement has an areaway staircase, be sure to clear the drain at the bottom of leaves, dirt and other debris. Do the same for other storm drains located on or near your property. Failure to do so could lead to excess water backing up onto your property or into your home if the drains are clogged.
Plug expensive household items into surge protectors, or unplug them entirely
Stereos, televisions, fitness equipment and computers should be either unplugged before the storm begins, or plugged into surge protectors. This may help to prevent damage to these items if lightning strikes.
Remove outdoor furniture/potted plants
Move any unsecured items, such as patio furniture or potted plants, inside to keep them safe from driving rains or severe winds. Sinking furniture inside a pool is not recommended – the chlorine in the pool water may stain or rust expensive items, and this may also damage the bottom of the pool.
Learn how to safely operate your generator
All generators are not the same, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instruction manual that came with your generator to ensure proper operation.
- Before the storm, test your your generator by turning it on to be sure that it is working properly. Also, make sure that you have a sufficient fuel supply to keep the generator running once it is needed.
- Use the generator in an well-ventilated, outside area. Generators emit carbon monoxide, which can build up in an unventilated area and be hazardous to your family.
- Plug appliances into the generator using heavy-duty extension cords that are well-maintained and not frayed or worn. Using incorrect or damaged extension cords could pose a fire hazard.
- Use the generator only when necessary, and be sure not to overload it. Constantly running the generator or plugging too many items into it could create a fire hazard.
- Turn the generator off and allow it to cool before refueling. Pouring fuel into a hot generator may cause an explosion or fire.
Prepare your pool
A few simple steps will help prevent significant damage to your pool.
- Do not drain all of the water from the pool. An empty pool is subject to “floating” or “popping” out of the ground due to “lift pressure,” which is caused by excessive ground water during heavy rains. Also, the water in your pool will act as a shield to protect the finish from damage. Instead, only drain your pool water by one to two feet to allow for the accumulation of rainwater.
- Turn off the power to any pool equipment (pump, motor, lights) that may be on.
- Remove any loose pool items (filter housing tops, etc.). These can easily be taken away by strong winds.
- Add extra chlorine to the pool. This will help to prevent contamination from any debris and storm water that enters the pool.
These few simple steps, may help you and your home escape the upcoming tough weather unharmed!