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 the inside, there are a number of considerations that can help to protect your home and family.
Let’s look at a few ways you can secure your property and loved ones from the outside in:
1. Prep Your Property
We all like to decorate our property and enjoy Florida’s beautiful sunny days outdoors, but when a storm strikes, your outdoor decor could wreak havoc on your house.
Bring In or Secure Your Outdoor Exterior
Wicked winds can blow lawn furniture, bikes, ceramic pots, weed whackers— you name it— across your property and against the exterior of your home, damaging your surroundings.
Minor damages like scratches or dents to your exterior are inconvenient and devalue your home, while extreme damages like cracked or shattered windows, airborne mailboxes and smashed water fountains can become costly to repair. Before a storm strikes, ensure you have your items covered, strapped down or stored safely inside.
Improve your Electrical Equipment Storage
It might seem like lawnmowers and power equipment can be safely stored away in a shed or against the wall of an uncovered lanai but this isn’t always the case.
Prepare for the storm ahead of time by inspecting your structures, double-checking they aren’t showing previous signs of water damage. Look for telltale signs of moisture like warped flooring or dripping ceilings. If you have a grill or other electrical units outside, make sure they’re properly tarped or covered. Really, storing any electrical equipment safely in a garage is your best call during a thunderstorm!
Check out these outdoor electrical safety tips too for more pre-storm prep advice.
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, birdbaths and more could be forgotten and fly into your home. Prepare for a big thunderstorm by giving your plants and landscape features a good once-over.
2. Protect the Outside of Your Home
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, causing chips, cracks and holes.
Some insurance policies don’t cover hail damage, so it’s best to take preventative measures by investing in hail-resistant roofing or storm shutters. Storm shutters or weather-resistant siding could also protect against winds and everything they hurl at your home!
3. Safeguard the Inside of Your Home
From your electronic devices to your family, advanced planning can help you to protect what’s most important inside of your home.
Protect Your Electronics
Thunderstorms bring lightning, which, if it hits your home or nearby power lines, can travel through electrical wires 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. Unplug your devices during a storm, disconnect your internet, antenna, satellite-dish connections and more. For what devices you need to keep running, opt for surge-protective power strips and ground what you can.
Here are some tips for grounding your devices as well as electrical safety tips from our experts at Southwest Florida Electric to protect your home 24/7. We also offer full home surge protection to keep your devices and data protected while helping to prevent fires, electrocution and more.
Cover Your Windows
We all love Florida’s sun, and many of the state’s homes boast big, beautiful windows to soak it in. 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 glass indoors. During a storm, keep your drapes closed and try to stay away from your windows, skylights and doors. Investing in storm shutters or weather-resistant glass windows can help to bring you even 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.
Invest in a Generator
Protect your home from long-term power outages by investing in a generator. A home standby unit can help ensure your home doesn’t miss a beat when the lines are down and that all your important needs like AC stay up and running.
Having a permanently-installed backup power source when disaster strikes is not only convenient for continuing day-to-day functions during a thunderstorm, but they’re also safer than portable units. Portable generators cannot run inside because they emit carbon monoxide, which is poisonous and deadly in enclosed spaces, so when thinking about power during a wicked storm, a standby is really your best option.
Download Your Free Electrical Toolkit
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!
Beyond the thunderstorm, your home needs routine electrical protection. Download our Electric Toolkit for a few tips on checking your outlets, smoke detectors and more.