Anyone who lives in Florida knows one thing for certain— we get some nasty thunderstorms.
When severe weather hits, it helps to be properly prepared. Whether it’s taking precautionary outdoor measures or safeguarding inside, there are number of things to consider to protect your home and family.
Let’s look at a few ways you can secure yourself from the outside in:
1. Prep Your Property
We all like to decorate our property and enjoy Florida’s beautiful sunny days, but when a storm strikes, your outdoor decor could wreak havoc on your house.
Bring In or Secure Your Outdoor Exterior
Wicked winds blow lawn furniture, bikes, ceramic pots, weed whackers— you name it— across your property, knocking against your home or damaging your surroundings.
Minor damages like scratches or dents to your exterior are inconvenient and devalue your home, while extreme damages like cracked or shatter windows, airborne mailboxes and water-logged grills can become costly to repair. Before a storm strikes, ensure you have your items covered, strapped down or stored safely inside.
Don’t Forget Your Vegetation & Landscaping
Lightning or winds can crack off large tree branches, whipping them at your siding, vehicles, neighbor’s property or nearby power sources. If a power line is severed, that could mean a community-wide outage (stay prepared for an outage with these tips).
Even large bushes or brush could cause damage— and landscape features hidden amongst your plants like stones, bird baths and more could be forgotten and fly into your home.
2. Protect the Outside of Your House
Even though hail often melts before it reaches the ground in Florida, there have been about a dozen events of hail of over 3 inches reported in recent years. Hail can hurl ice at your home at speeds of up to 120 mph, ranging from the size of a small pea to a baseball! Even tiny pieces of hail can cause extensive damage, pelting your siding for hours and causing chips, cracks and holes.
Some insurances don’t cover against hail damage, so it’s best to take preventative measures by investing in hail-resistant roofing or storm shutters. In fact, investing in storm shutters or weather-resistant siding could be a great idea to also protect against any other objects storm winds toss at your home.
3. Safeguard the Inside of Your Home
From protecting your electronic devices to your family, the inside of your home keeps you safe during wicked weather.
Thunderstorms bring with them lightning, which if hits your home or nearby power lines, can travel through and fry your computers, TVs and other electronic devices. Just like flood damage, your homeowner’s insurance may not cover damage from lightning strikes, so be sure to check your policy.
Because electrical wires conduct lightning, avoid using electronic devices during a storm. Unplugging your devices during a storm, disconnecting your internet, antenna and satellite-dish connections and more is the safest way to go but for what devices you need running, opt for surge-protective power strips and ground what you can.
Cover Your Windows
We love enjoying Florida’s sun, and many of the state’s homes boast big, beautiful windows. Although they are great for letting light in on a bright day, when the clouds are brewing, these windows can quickly turn into potential hazards.
High winds and hail can shatter glass, hurling objects and shards at your family. During a storm, keep your drapes closed and try to stay away from your windows, skylights and doors. Investing in proper storm shutters or weather-resistant glass windows can help to bring you greater peace of mind and protection.
Prepare for Flood Damage
Whether a thunderstorm is violent or mild, cracks in your roof or foundation can cause water damage. Many home insurance companies do not cover flood damage so be sure to contact your insurer to become familiar with your coverage. Getting routine maintenance on your roof and foundation can catch these problems before a storm hits.
Stay Away From Metal & Water
Water and metal conduct lightning, so be sure to avoid metal pipes, washing your hands or dishes, showering or doing laundry during a thunderstorm as well.
Take Preventative Action Early
Proper thunderstorm preparation can save you time and money and keep your family safe from electrical and physical threats.
Be sure to take summer storm warnings and alerts seriously, especially tornado or hurricane forecasts, which can lead to severe property damage, or even death! Once you’ve taken all the precautions, it doesn’t hurt to consider investing in a generator as a backup power source if disaster strikes.
Here at Southwest Florida Electric, we offer full home surge protection to keep your devices and data protected and keep your family safe from fires, electrocution and more. Contact us today to speak with one of our certified electricians.