Hurricanes can engulf a town with 150-mile-per-hour winds, leaving destruction — and devastating repair bills — in their wake. When a hurricane strikes, you want your house to withstand the storm’s wrath. Below are 6 ways to help protect your home from harm.
1. Stabilize your garage door
Problem: It’s a common misconception that your roof is the most vulnerable part of your house. The weak link is actually your garage door. If hurricane-force winds blow open your garage door, the force, weight and momentum of the swinging door can rip off your roof.
Prevention Tip: It’s important to have a garage door that is wind rated and locked shut. There are a couple of ways to lock your garage door. The first way is to use manual locks. These locks do the job, but they need to be manually switched to the locked position when the storm arrives. So, if you are out of town and your locks aren’t engaged, the locks won’t be in position to provide protection. Additionally, if you forget to unlock these locks and try to open your garage door, you may damage the door and opener, resulting in costly repairs.
If you want peace of mind that your home is better protected, no matter where you are, a LiftMaster Automatic Garage Door Lock may be right for you. As the name suggests, autolock automatically locks your garage door, so you don’t need to remember to lock it before you leave home. When two Automatic Garage Door Locks are installed with certain LiftMaster Garage Door Openers on select code-compliant garage doors, the engaged locks reinforce the garage door automatically when the garage door is closed. When using the myQ® app, homeowners also have the ability to open and close their garage door from anywhere and will receive alerts if it’s left open.
2. Fortify your roof
Problem: A leaky roof in a hurricane brings water damage. Worse yet, a faulty or unsecured roof could leave you homeless.
Prevention Tip: Get ahead of this potential issue. Spend time caulking and adding replacement shingles to your roof so that it’s not left exposed in a storm. Better yet, if you want to reinforce your roof, try securing it with hurricane clips and straps.
3. Shield windows and secure doors
Problem: Debris. Hurricanes pick up large objects that can smash through your windows and take down your door. It’s imperative to protect exposed entry points as much as possible.
Prevention Tip: Prepare yourself by spending a weekend measuring and cutting plywood to match the specifications of your windows. Then, as a hurricane approaches, you can nail the plywood sheets over the windows. Another option is to purchase exterior aluminum shutters, which are available at home improvement stores. These protective shutters have holes on the edges, making it easy to screw them into place, and they offer additional protection from the elements.
Likewise, you will want to safeguard your doors. Make sure the hinges are snugly fastened and you have a dead bolt lock. As with windows, you can apply plywood over the doorway before a storm. If you have a glass door, make sure it is a high impact glass door or consider replacing it.
4. Cover your air conditioner
Problem: Your home’s air conditioner is located outside of your house, which means it may be exposed to water damage. Unfortunately, a damaged air conditioner unit can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace.
Prevention Tip: Get a cover for your air conditioner and wrap it tightly around the unit. Use rope to secure the cover in place.
5. Keep loose debris away from your house
Problem: Leaving loose debris around your home before a hurricane is like giving a burglar keys to your house. Those harmless garden gnomes can quickly transform into dangerous projectile weapons that puncture your home.
Prevention Tip: Pick up debris and decorative items and store them in your garage or home. Give the hurricane fewer items to throw at your house.
6. Consider an electric generator
Problem: A hurricane can leave an entire power grid down for days or even weeks. This means the food in your refrigerator can spoil, your air conditioner won’t run and your basement may flood when you lose sump pump battery backup power.
Prevention Tip: It’s a wise idea to consider purchasing an electric generator to keep your power running. A stand-by generator is installed by a professional. Although a bigger cost investment, it is a permanent solution that will kick in within seconds of your power going out. A portable generator is a significantly lower cost investment, although you will have to manually start it after a storm strikes. Still, it can protect you from a prolonged power outage.
Also, to make sure you have access to your house even when the power goes out, look for a battery backup logo on your garage door opener.
LiftMaster does not claim to be an authority on hurricane home protection. For more comprehensive advice on preparing for a hurricane, please refer to the National Hurricane Center.