It’s summertime! That means pool days, tanning under the sun and enjoying fresh watermelon. However, another reality of summer is the number of storms that plague the weather forecast. Storms are notoriously unpredictable and can be severe, leaving homeowners like you feeling anxious about their home and safety.

But fear not! With the right preparations, you can protect your home and family from the worst of what mother nature has to offer. By being proactive and prepared, you can significantly reduce the risk of damage and enjoy peace of mind throughout the stormy summer months.

In this article, we will explore different types of storms and some preventative measures you can take to protect your home from them.

How Summer Storms can Harm the Home

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Summer storms come in all shapes and sizes, each bringing its own set of challenges depending on where you live. Knowing about these different storm types and some of the potential risks they pose to your home is important to know so you can respond more effectively when they hit.

  • Tornadoes: Tornadoes are violently rotating columns of air that can cause widespread devastation with their powerful winds, which can exceed 200 mph. Homes in the path of a tornado can suffer significant structural damage, including the complete destruction of roofs, walls, and foundations.

  • Thunderstorms: These are the most common summer storms and can bring heavy rain, strong winds, hail and lightning. Lightning poses a serious risk, potentially causing electrical fires, power surges, and damage to electrical systems.

  • Tropical storms: These large, clustered thunderstorms have maximum sustained winds between 39-73 mph, and can bring heavy rainfall, strong winds and coastal flooding, causing a combination of water damage, wind damage, and erosion to properties.

  • Hurricanes: Hurricanes are a tropical storm with sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour, which can lead to structural damage, water intrusion and long-term issues like mold growth and foundation weakening.

  • Hailstorms: Hailstorms occur when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere, forming ice balls as big as softballs. Their impact can crack or break shingles, leading to leaks and other structural issues.

  • Floods: Floods are the overflowing of water onto typically dry land. Homes in flood-prone areas can experience water damage, particularly in basements, leading to moisture buildup, mold growth, and significant structural damage.

Common Types of Storm Damage

Sometimes, storms strike with little warning, causing havoc on your relaxation time by the pool. Each year, thunderstorms cause about $15 billion in property damage, while hailstorms contribute around $1 billion in annual property damage. This highlights why it’s so important to be prepared for storm season to protect your property.

  • Wind Damage: High winds can tear off roof shingles, break windows, and damage siding. Even moderate winds can cause trees to fall, potentially damaging your home, causing water damage or blocking access routes.

  • Hail Damage: Hailstones can dent cars, crack windows and puncture roofing materials. The larger the hailstone, the more severe the damage. Sometimes, damage from hail is less noticeable, especially on roofs or shingles, making it difficult to detect issues until they become costly problems.

  • Flooding: Floods are caused by intense rainfall, and can overwhelm drainage systems, sometimes flooding homes. People with basements can often get mold growth and significant structural damage from water damage.

  • Power Outages: Storms can knock down power lines, leading to outages that may last hours, days or even weeks. Without power, homes can become uncomfortable, especially in hot weather, and perishable food items may spoil.

Preparing Your Home for Storms

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This summer, you want to make the most of the sunny days without stressing about potential storm damage or safety issues. Getting ahead before storm season kicks in can really protect your home and give you peace of mind. Here are some smart steps you should take to keep your property safe.

1. Inspect the Roof

Start by inspecting your roof for any loose, damaged or missing shingles. Clear away any debris, such as leaves or branches, that may have accumulated. Additionally, check for signs of leaks or water damage in the attic or ceiling, as these can indicate potential vulnerabilities.

Note: Inspecting your roof can be dangerous. We recommend hiring a professional.

2. Clean House Siding

Examine the siding of your house for cracks, holes or loose panels. Clean the siding with a pressure washer or a hose with a spray nozzle to remove dirt, mold or mildew buildup, which can degrade the material over time. Ensure that the siding is securely attached to prevent it from being ripped off by strong winds.

3. Inspect Windows and Doors

Inspect the seal around your windows for any gaps or cracks that could allow water or wind to enter. Check the window screens for tears or damage and ensure that all windows open and close properly. Consider applying weatherstripping if necessary to improve their resilience against storms.

4. Do Some Yard Work

Make sure to clear your gutters and downspouts of leaves, twigs and other debris to prevent water backup. Secure or store outdoor furniture, grills and other equipment that could become dangerous projectiles during a storm. Trim tree branches near the house to reduce the risk of them breaking off and causing damage.

5. Understand Your Insurance Policy

It’s important to read and understand your home insurance policy to ensure you’re covered in the event of an emergency. If you need more clarification about your coverage, contact your insurance agent. Another good idea is to photograph your furniture and valuables in case they become damaged during a storm.

6. Schedule a Home Inspection

Scheduling a home inspection with WIN before storm season ensures that your home is in optimal condition to withstand severe weather. WIN home inspectors can provide in-depth assessments of your home's critical systems, including the roof, foundation, HVAC and more.

We can also identify those hidden issues and recommend necessary repairs, giving you the peace of mind that your home is well-prepared for any weather event that comes your way. WIN offers several services, including a Healthy Home Check (HHC) that caters to the warmer months, and the issues that typically arise.

7. Air Quality Tests

Did you know the heat you are bathing in makes air quality worse! The summer months are prone to poor air quality as air pollutants such as ground-level ozone tend to be higher in the summer due to sunny, hot weather that supports ozone formation. Heavy rains and winds can also bring in mold spores, which can settle in your home and affect your health. Comprehensive Air Quality Tests, like those offered at WIN including checks for over 25 different pollutants, can provide the knowledge you need to stay safe and healthy throughout the season.

8. 4-Point Inspection

A 4-Point Inspection focuses on the key systems of your home: HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roof. Ensuring these systems are in top shape is crucial for maintaining the health and safety of your home, especially during storms. A well-maintained roof can prevent leaks and structural damage, a solid plumbing system can avert flooding, and an efficient HVAC system can maintain indoor air quality even during power outages.

  • HVAC System: Ensuring your HVAC system is functioning properly is crucial during storm season. High humidity and moisture from storms can lead to mold growth if your HVAC system is not in top condition, creating indoor air quality issues and posing health risks.

  • Plumbing: Checking for leaks or weaknesses in your plumbing system can prevent potential flooding and water damage during heavy rains. State-of-the-art scope cameras can be used to conduct a video inspection of your home's sewer line, ensuring there are no hidden issues.

  • Electrical Systems: Inspecting electrical systems reduces the risk of power outages and electrical fires during storms, providing peace of mind that your home is safe and secure.

  • Roof Inspection: Inspecting the roof for loose, damaged, or missing shingles can prevent leaks and structural damage during high winds and heavy rainfall, helping to protect your home from severe weather conditions.

Why These Checks Are Essential During Storm Season

During storm season, your home's systems are really put to the test. Structural weaknesses can lead to extensive damage when exposed to high winds and heavy rains. A compromised sewer line can cause devastating backups, while faulty electrical systems increase the risk of fires and prolonged power outages. By addressing these issues proactively with a thorough inspection, you can reduce the risk of severe storm damage and ensure your home remains a haven for your family.

That’s why booking a professional inspection is a smart move for protecting your home and loved ones during storm season. Plus, while you're getting ready for storm season, you can enjoy all the fun that summer brings—like barbecues, beach trips and family gatherings—without worrying about your home. WIN’s comprehensive assessments can help you confidently face severe weather, knowing your home is well-prepared.

1. Family Comes First

Yes, having limited damage on your home is important for your family’s safety, but so are other things during storm season. Ensuring your family’s safety during a storm involves more than just preparing your home. Here are some ways you can keep your loved ones safe and ready for any situation.

2. Prepare an Emergency Kit

Gathering essentials for an emergency kit is crucial for ensuring your family’s safety during a storm. Include flashlights with extra batteries to provide light if the power goes out. Stock up on non-perishable food and enough bottled water to last at least three days for each family member. A well-stocked first aid kit is essential for treating any injuries that may occur. Ensure your emergency kit is easily accessible, ideally stored in a designated spot known to all household members so you can quickly grab it in case of an emergency.

3. Identify a Safe Area

Designating a safe area in your house is an important step in storm preparedness. Choose a location like a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. This area will provide the best protection from high winds and flying debris. Make sure all family members know where this safe place is and keep it clear of clutter for quick and easy access when needed.

4. Stay Weather-Ready

Staying informed about the weather is key to preparing for storms. Regularly check the weather forecast, especially during storm season. Use local news sources or NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated on severe thunderstorm watches and warnings in your area.

5. Sign Up for Notifications

Understanding how your community alerts storm warnings is crucial. Some areas use outdoor sirens to alert residents of impending storms, while others may rely on local media broadcasts or smartphone alerts. Sign up for these notification services if they are available in your area. Familiarize yourself with the different warning systems.

6. Create a Communications Plan

Developing a family emergency plan can ensure safety during a storm. Your plan should include an emergency meeting place where family members can gather if you become separated. Include contact information for each family member and practice your plan regularly through drills. Remember to include your pets in the plan, ensuring their safety alongside the rest of the family.

7. During-the-Storm Precautions

When a storm hits, take shelter in a sturdy part of your residence away from windows, doors and electrical appliances. Avoid contact with water, metal objects and electricity. If the wind is strong, move to an interior room to stay safe from flying debris.

Post-Storm: Your Next Steps

After the storm passes, it’s super important to check out the damage and start recovery efforts. But keep in mind, there can be delays in repairs since everyone needs help in storm-affected areas. Here’s what you should do:

  • Stay Informed: Keep listening to local news via television or the radio for updates on further severe weather threats.

  • Contact Family and Friends: Let your loved ones know you are safe. Use text messages or social media, which can be more reliable than phone calls during emergencies. If you do not have power, keep your use limited.

  • Assess the Damage: Once it is cleared as safe to go outside, check your property for damage. Wear protective clothing, like long pants and be cautious of downed power lines. Take pictures of any visible damage for future insurance claims. Contact local authorities if you see any hazards and avoid entering damaged buildings.

Managing Summer Storm Damage

Once the clouds clear up, it’s important to ensure there isn’t any damage to your property or air quality concerns. Some storm damage might not be immediately visible, such as mold growth from water infiltration. It's essential to address these hidden issues to prevent long-term problems. Regular home inspections can help with identifying and mitigating these risks.

Now that you’ve read this article, you can go back to the pool with a feeling of relief. You know what to do and to do it ASAP! Preparing for summer storm season is crucial for protecting your home and family. By taking the right precautions and staying informed, you can minimize the risk of damage and ensure your family's safety.

WIN Home Inspection is here to help you through every step of the process. Book a Healthy Home Check today to ensure your home is ready for whatever the summer storms may bring. Stay safe and enjoy some peace of mind knowing that you and your family are well prepared.