Must-Know Hurricane Proof Home Designs to Keep Your Family Safe
Did you know that the recent storm, Hurricane Laura, put over a million homes in danger of destruction by floods? Although this may seem like an anomaly, hurricanes are an ongoing problem for people who primarily live in the southern half of the United States.
If you reside in an area that suffers from tropical storms or hurricanes, you should consider making improvements to your home infrastructure to combat storm damage. Here are some prime examples of hurricane proof home designs, and how to use them to your advantage during storm season.
Types of Hurricane Proof Home Designs
Although your house may include some features that will strengthen it against wind and rain, you can always make improvements. Making simple changes to your home infrastructure and layout can potentially save you a good amount of time and money in the long run.
Your windows must have the ability to withstand hurricane-force winds or even other types of natural phenomena like hail. Also known as impact windows, they can withstand immense amounts of pressure.
The price range of impact windows can vary widely, especially because it is dependent on how many windows you have in your home, as well as square footage and the type of protection you need. However, the security they offer is priceless.
An added benefit of impact windows is that they can guard against extreme temperatures as well, potentially providing relief during hot summers or colder winters.
Like impact windows, many houses in regions prone to hurricanes come with sturdier doors. A solid door frame is vital because often, hurricane-force winds can exert multiple pressures on the weakest points in a home.
Should you and your family need to evacuate during a storm, these types of doors are more likely to stay shut, preventing your home from being burgled. They can bring more safety and security to your home, during hurricane season and year-round.
Hurricane doors also often feature pressure-resistant glass, which can combat hail and other debris without cracking or shattering. This way, you do not have to worry about stepping in broken glass or cutting yourself on it if a storm occurs and causes property damage.
Basement Water Pumps
Often, a staple feature of hurricane proof home designs is a basement that will withstand flooding. Water tends to gather from the lowest point of the home, which is more often than not the basement, so getting a handle on flooding is one of the smartest hurricane solutions.
Though the flooding of the basement area first means that the main portion of your home may be safe, you can still suffer from significant amounts of damage. It may be in your best interest to have a water pump in your basement, also known as a sump pump.
If you are home repair savvy, you should be able to install a sump pump for your basement. However, if you have larger or more frequent flooding problems, then you should consider a different option, or having a company install one for you.
Wind Resistant Roofing
The roof can be one of the most vulnerable parts of your housing structure, so ensuring that it will survive natural disasters is crucial. Your roof will shield your home from wind, rain, hail, and even falling objects, such as trees or telephone poles.
States that suffer from many hurricanes annually, like Florida, have building codes specially written to keep homes as safe as possible. Roofers usually have tools and fasteners that will help secure the roof even more and add an extra line of defense between your home and the elements.
Unlike normal roofs, the material best suited for hurricanes and stormy weather is metal. As an added bonus, they are often resistant to fire as well. Wind resistant roofing is an ideal investment that will keep your property in top shape for years to come.
Avoid Tall Trees
Trees can bring beauty and aesthetic appeal to your property, but if you live in an area prone to hurricanes, specifically high winds, they are often more dangerous. Tall trees impacted by high winds are susceptible to falling onto your roof or through windows.
You do not have to go completely without trees. With some research and planning, you should be able to design a property layout that features hurricane-resistant trees and plants.
Plenty of tall trees are sturdier against winds, which means you will not have to sacrifice the visual appeal that you desire. Be sure to purchase trees that will not lose limbs in hurricanes. You should also seek advice on how to plant them for maximum stability.
Place Heavy Objects Close to the Ground
Similar to being prepared for an earthquake, arranging your furniture and belongings around your home can make you feel much safer in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm. When winds and shaking occur in your house, vulnerable items carry the risk of falling and breaking.
You can easily avoid this issue by keeping heavier items near the ground. You should avoid wall-mounted televisions or precious items in higher locations. They will have less likelihood of being damaged if they are simply tipping over or falling one or two feet.
Not only can expensive or valuable things be damaged during a hurricane, but a heavy falling object can be hazardous as well. If you have pets or small children, placing heavier items lower will mitigate the risk of injury.
Use Sealants and Flood Gates
Even if you have a sump pump or basement system, it may not deter water from coming into direct contact with your home. Luckily, several relatively inexpensive options are easy to add to your infrastructure.
You can purchase barriers that swell when they come into contact with water, effectively sealing your door and window frames. They work to your advantage because they simultaneously absorb floodwater, and use it as a way to keep more water out.
A flood gate is a more expensive option, but it provides peace of mind if you are worried about flooding outside of the home. Flood gates are usually made of steel and can be placed indoor or window frames to make them watertight.
Prevent Damage to Your Electrical System
It can be extremely frustrating, and costly, to suffer from a power outage during a hurricane. Be sure to have a system in place that will preserve your electrical system as much as possible, so you will not have to make extensive repairs and go without power.
If you have periodic flooding in your house, it might be a good idea to consider a raised electrical system. It can prevent much of the potential damage caused by floods, and also help to avoid fires from a damaged circuit or wire.
Before installing a raised electrical system, you should go over the details with an electrician, as well as your power company for the height to which you can raise your system. In addition, you should never try to make electrical repairs after a flood or storm without consulting a professional.
Buy a Generator
Even if you have a raised electrical system, you could still suffer power outages during a hurricane. These often occur when power lines come down because of high force winds, or flooding causes damage to the electrical grid.
A backup generator is a great investment for any prolonged period without power. Many models run off of fuel, so ensure that you are stocked up on enough fuel for the power needs of your family.
In theory, these generators can run indefinitely, as long as they have a fuel supply. However, try to only use the generator for essential tasks, like keeping refrigerated food cool, charging electronic devices, or using lights when necessary.
Additional Steps to Secure Your Property
After you have built an infrastructure that will protect your home, it is ideal to consider other factors that cause stress during hurricane season. There are more ways that you will be able to feel safer, even if your house is completely prepared.
Purchase Flood Insurance
Buying flood insurance is often recommended for every homeowner, even if you live in an area that does not frequently flood. Therefore, it is even more crucial to have flood insurance if your region has storms and hurricanes regularly.
Most flood insurance policies will protect against tens of thousands of dollars of damage, so paying a small amount every month towards a policy may end up benefitting you immensely. It is particularly popular in hurricane-prone states like Florida.
In the event that your house incurs significant damage during an extreme weather event, you will be able to focus less on money and more on repairing and rebuilding. Many situations and types of flooding are covered under these policies but speak with an insurance agent or home appraiser before buying a policy.
Have an Evacuation Plan
Sometimes natural disasters can strike incredibly quickly, and the adrenaline and fear can make it difficult to think straight. That is why it is important to have a plan in case you and your family need to leave your home on short notice.
Make sure that all family members know what they are responsible for, and make a list of essentials that need to be packed if there is an evacuation. For children and pets, it might be easier to keep a bag or suitcase ready to go so that you do not forget food or medicine.
You should also have a list of places that you can go to if you have to leave your home for safety reasons. These could be nearby hotels, or houses belonging to relatives and friends. Have a list of contacts ready, so you have somewhere to go even without access to your cell phone or computer.
Make Copies of Important Documents
Because hurricanes often cause flood damage, documents that are not sealed in watertight storage may be destroyed during the storm. Even if you feel your documents are safe, it is smart to make copies and bring them along with you when you evacuate, or to store them in a dry location away from your house.
Some things to consider making copies of include:
- Driver’s licenses or state ID cards
- Birth certificates
- Bank information
- Social Security cards
- Marriage certificates
- Medical records
- Insurance policies
Once you have duplicates of these documents, you can have much more peace of mind in case they are ruined or lost in the future. You will be able to focus on preserving your home, rather than wondering where you have placed your passport.
Another way that you can have some peace of mind during a storm is to insure your valuable items. Whether it be electronics or antiques, everyone has certain possessions that they do not want to lose.
Often, you can insure multiple items under the same insurance plan, which is much easier for those who are looking into this type of insurance. For high ticket items like jewelry, you will need to have an appraisal before enrolling in an insurance policy.
When insuring objects, you and your family should evaluate which items have the most value, as well as the ones that are most likely to suffer irreparable damage from a storm or flood.
Don’t Wait to Prepare Your Home
Protecting your home against potential storms or hurricanes does not have to be an intimidating task. A variety of hurricane proof home designs exist to ensure that every inch of your property is ready for any type of natural disaster.
It is possible to thrive in locations that are more susceptible to storm activity, as long as you are aware of the risks. The first thing you can do is begin assessing your home to evaluate potential improvements. One step at a time, you can count on being fully prepared when there is a hurricane.
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