Weather unpredictability is an undeniable part of our lives. It seems as though every day brings with it more and more extreme weather conditions. Even those places that regularly experience harsh weather aren't safe from the debilitating effects of climate change.
Did you know that Illinois, on average, faces five severe winter storms from November to April? To drive the point home, you might recall that in 2003, large hail wreaked havoc, causing nearly $20 million in property and crop damages in Illinois.
Given these facts, it's crucial for residents, especially in such areas, to fortify their homes against unpredictable weather. This article will guide you on ways to shield your dwelling from the wrath of Mother Nature.
1.Roof Maintenance and Repair
Maintaining and repairing your roof is crucial. Over time, roofs can sustain damages from factors like weather, wear and tear, or even pests. Damaged roofs can result in leaks, which may further damage the interior of your home.
The structural stability of your entire home can be compromised if these issues aren't addressed timely. If you're not sure about the state of your roof, it's wise to get an expert opinion. Professionals can point out potential problems and recommend the right solutions.
Another sign that might indicate a roof problem is an unexpected hike in energy bills. Oak Brook residents enjoy electricity rates that are about 12.12% less than the national average. Still, if your bills seem unusually high, your roof might be at fault.
Hiring the top Oak Brook roofing contractor doesn't just mean you can fortify your home; it'll also help reduce energy expenses. They'll let you know the best steps for ensuring protection and efficiency.
2. Regular Home Inspection
By having your home inspected each year, you can identify potential problems before they worsen. Issues like small cracks in the foundation or minor leaks might seem trivial but can lead to significant troubles if left unattended.
The walls and roof are also vital areas to check. They play a crucial role in safeguarding your home from external elements. A timely inspection can help spot weaknesses in these areas, enabling you to fix them before they become major concerns.
3. Install Storm Windows and Doors
Storm windows and doors are pivotal in safeguarding homes, especially in areas prone to harsh weather conditions. What makes them different from regular windows and doors is their sturdy construction.
These are made using robust materials and specific designs that can resist the force of violent winds or flying debris. By installing them, homeowners can significantly reduce the risk of external elements causing damage inside their homes.
For instance, during a storm, a regular window might shatter easily, leading to rainwater entering and damaging the house. But with storm windows, that risk is reduced. Similarly, storm doors prevent wind and water from entering through doorways.
4. Strengthen the Home's Foundation
A weak foundation can lead to several problems, from cracked walls to uneven floors. Regularly checking your foundation for signs of wear or damage is important. Over time, external pressures, soil movement, or moisture can weaken it.
To avoid potential issues, homeowners should ensure that their foundation is anchored firmly and has adequate reinforcement. This is especially vital in areas prone to natural disasters.
For instance, during an earthquake, a strong foundation can help prevent the house from collapsing. Similarly, during heavy winds, it keeps the entire structure steady.
5. Trim Trees and Large Shrubs
Having trees and large shrubs close to your home can be aesthetically pleasing and offer shade. However, without proper care, they can become a threat, especially when the weather turns bad.
Trees with long branches hanging over roofs or near windows can be particularly risky during storms. There's the danger of branches snapping off and falling, which can lead to damaged roofs, broken windows, or even injury to someone nearby.
Large shrubs, on the other hand, if not maintained, can brush against walls and windows, leading to wear over time. Regularly trimming these trees and shrubs is the best and most convenient solution.
6. Secure Loose Objects
Think about things you have outside your home: garden tools, chairs, or even decorative items. In high winds, these objects can get lifted and thrown around, leading to potential harm. For instance, a chair carried by strong winds can smash into windows or doors, causing damage or even injuring someone.
To avoid this, make a routine check of your outdoor space. Before any storm or when you know the weather will be rough, move smaller objects inside. For heavier items, like furniture, that can't be moved indoors, ensure they are anchored down or placed in an area where wind impact is minimized.
7. Invest in Sump Pumps
Sump pumps are essential tools for homes susceptible to flooding, especially those with basements or located in low-lying areas. When it rains heavily, water can accumulate in these spaces. If left unchecked, this can lead to various problems like mold growth, damaged foundations, or ruined belongings.
A sump pump works by detecting rising water levels in a specific pit or basin. Once the water reaches a set level, the pump activates, removing the water and directing it away from your home, usually into a nearby drain.
By doing this, sump pumps prevent flooding inside the house. Investing in a reliable sump pump is a wise decision for those living in areas where heavy rainfall or melting snow is common.
8. Insulate Pipes and Vents
When the temperature drops, pipes are at risk. If water inside them freezes, it expands, leading to the pipes bursting, which can cause significant damage.
Proper insulation of these pipes, especially the ones running through unheated spaces like garages, attics, or exterior walls, can save homeowners from costly repairs and water damage. Insulation materials, like foam sleeves or insulating tape, are available at most hardware stores and are easy to apply.
But pipes aren't the only concern. Vents, especially those leading outside, can allow cold drafts into your home if not inspected and sealed properly. This can lead to higher heating costs and a chilly living environment.
9. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are vital tools that warn you of potential dangers. Regularly checking these detectors is a must. Replace batteries at least once a year or whenever they run low. It's also essential to test them monthly.
If they're older than ten years, consider replacing the entire unit. Remember, these devices can be the difference between a minor incident and a major catastrophe. Also, ensure detectors are present in key areas, especially near bedrooms.
Your home's safety is paramount. Regular inspections, securing objects, and insulating pipes can mitigate potential dangers. The foundation, roof, and surroundings, including trees, all need attention.
But beyond the home's structure, your family's well-being is crucial. Always have an emergency plan in place. Keep a stocked kit and practice your exit plan often. Being proactive today can save a lot of stress tomorrow.