How to Disaster-Proof Your Home
A home is often one of the most valuable assets a person has. Disaster-proofing your home is essential, even if you don’t live in an area with frequent natural disasters. There are many different types of disasters you might experience in your lifetime; taking the necessary steps to protect your home will give you the best possible chance of surviving these with as little damage as possible.
Secure Your Foundation
The foundation of your home is critical to its survival during a natural disaster. Knowing that your foundation is strong enough to withstand extreme natural forces will give you peace of mind. Many older homes and houses built more than two decades ago have foundations that will not be able to withstand an earthquake. You should secure your foundation by making sure it’s directly connected to the upper portion of the house. Connecting the two structures will do wonders for the strength of your foundation. If you are unsure about the strength of your home’s foundation, taking steps to get it professionally inspected is a wise choice.
Update Old Electrical Systems
Old electrical systems can cause numerous problems—even disastrous ones. One of the most dangerous problems associated with old electrical systems is that they are more likely to spark fires. The best way to know if your electrical systems require an update is to ask a professional electrician. You can even ask multiple electricians for advice and quotes as to how much a new system will cost. While updating your electrical systems might seem overwhelming and expensive, it will be worth it in order to ensure the safety of your home and family in a disaster.
Keep Your Trees Trimmed
There are more benefits than just aesthetic ones when it comes to trimming your trees. Keeping your trees trimmed will prevent branches from falling onto electrical wires or causing structural damage to your home in the case of a disaster and high winds. Taking the time to keep your trees trimmed will save you from often catastrophic consequences.
Secure Your Roofing
A damaged or compromised roof can cause all kinds of problems, especially during a disaster. Make sure to fix your roof if it’s leaking or in disrepair. There are several signs that can alert you to a possible leak in your roof. These include water stains on the ceiling, drips or moisture on the walls, water spots on your exterior walls under the roof line, moss or mold on an exterior wall, and missing shingles or debris in your downspouts. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should get your roof checked for a leak. Even if the leak seems small and insignificant, it can still be dangerous. Additionally, the material of your roof can affect your home’s disaster readiness. A metal roof is safer because it isn’t flammable like asphalt.
Water is one of the leading causes of disasters throughout the world. Whether it’s as dramatic as a hurricane or as common as a flood in your basement, you should invest in waterproofing for your home. Water damage can be hard to recognize because it often builds up over a period of months or years before it causes a major disaster. You should make sure to waterproof your foundation, roof, exterior walls, windows, and doors. Make sure these are free from structural damage and that any cracks are sealed from the elements. You should also make sure to keep your gutters and drains free from obstructions so that they don’t break or overflow.
For basements, exterior waterproofing is the best solution, although it’s expensive. This process will involve excavating the outside of your house down to the foundation, and then installing a waterproof coating or membrane topped by drainage panels.This helps to stop water from entering your basement.
Repair Damage Quickly
One of the best ways to protect your home from disaster is to repair any existing damage as quickly as possible. If you ignore or procrastinate these problems, the damage can increase over time and easily turn into a disaster all on its own. Common causes of structural damage to houses include water, improper drainage, roof damage, clogged or broken rain gutters, broken windows, and broken doors.
Complete a Home Hazard Checklist
In almost every home, there are certain health and safety hazards that the owners don’t even realize exist. Completing a home hazard checklist can help you identify common safety hazards within your own home. Common items on a home hazard checklist include anchoring pictures and mirrors, bolting bookcases and shelves to the walls, storing breakables in cabinets with a secure latch, securing hanging lights and plants with anchors, and removing furniture and debris from the outdoors. You should also make sure your smoke and C02 detectors have new batteries, know how to shut off your utilities, use a fire extinguisher, and check gas or electrical lines for leaks. After completing a home hazard checklist, make sure to follow up on items needing repairs or updates.
Invest in Insulation
Making sure your home has good insulation will help protect it from a disaster. In freezing temperatures, homes without good isolation can be infiltrated by cold air and wind. If your pipes are left without sufficient insulation the water can freeze, expand, and rip open the pipe, which will obviously cause a major leak. Adding enough weather stripping and pipe insulation can help prevent this problem. Pipe insulation is effective, affordable, and easy to install.
Prepare Emergency Equipment
It’s important to recognize that even if you have gone out of your way to disaster-proof your home, severe emergencies and disasters can still cause significant damage. In cases such as these, it’s wise to have emergency kits prepared ahead of time. Consider preparing basic emergency kits for each member of your family. A basic emergency kit usually includes items such as a three-day supply of water and food, a battery-powered or hand crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, whistle, duct tape and plastic sheeting, toilet paper, wrench, can opener, maps, and back up cell phone with chargers.
You never know when a disaster might occur, so it’s always good to be prepared just in case.These are just a few ideas to help you get started in disaster-proofing your home. If you need extra help in your preparations, calling a professional contractor is always a good idea.
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