Summer is an exciting time for many as it means things like lazy days hanging by the pool, kids free from school, and backyard barbecues. However, summer can also bring with it some harsh weather that can inflict damage on a home. There are proactive steps you can take to protect your home and avoid some of these issues.
Heat and Light
The summer sun can cause some subtle and surprising damage both inside and outside your home, especially in areas with lots of windows. Heat, which can cause expansion and other issues, is also a problem that must be controlled as much as possible.
Of course, we know that keeping heat out is a way to keep the people in the house more comfortable, but it can also help to prevent some of the damage it can do to your house.
- Heat can cause pests to move in to your home, especially during long dry periods. Pests like insects, termites, and rodents will try to find a way into your home to find food, water, and shelter from the heat. Seal up any cracks or holes that could be possible entry points for these pests.
- High humidity means there is an increase in the risk of mold, which can harm structures and people in your home. Keep an eye out for any leaks and make sure that rooms with excess moisture are well ventilated.
- Excessive heat and sunlight can cause certain types of roofing materials to crack, peel, and curl up. That can lead to more damage if wind or rain comes along. Call to get a maintenance check for your roof to make sure it is ready to withstand summer weather conditions.
- Sunlight can fade furniture, carpeting, walls, and other surfaces, especially in windows that get the most midday sunshine. Closing the drapes or blinds can help but may cause fading to those materials as well. There are also clear films that can be installed on windows for added protection.
- Air conditioning units can also get overworked and fail, since they are constantly kicking on to make up for high temperatures outdoors. Call in professionals to inspect your unit to make sure it ready for constant summer use. It also could be time to clean your air conditioning unit, as buildup over time can reduce its efficiency.
High Winds and Hail
Many hurricanes and tornados occur during the summer. Damage from these natural disasters can happen even in areas not directly affected by them because of increased storm front activity. Increased winds, rain, and even hail can occur hundreds of miles from the actual path of a hurricane. High winds can do damage, including tearing off loose shutters and shingles or causing tree limbs to fall on homes, cars, and structures.
North America has the most tornado activity in the world, with the U.S. seeing an annual average of over 1,000 actual tornadoes and Canada close to 100. Hurricanes are less frequent but can be more destructive both in terms of property damage and loss of life.
Here are some things to do well before a tornado or hurricane arrives to help protect your home:
- Locate your utility switches and make sure they are easily accessible and properly labeled so that if/when the time comes, you can quickly turn off what you need and help avoid things like electrical fires.
- Store valuables and important documents in a waterproof and fireproof safe.
- Trim back loose limbs to make them more resistant to breakage from high winds. Dead trees should also be removed as soon as possible as they are weak and vulnerable to breaking. Strong winds can quickly turn broken branches into heavy debris that can cause damage to a home or injure someone. Depending on factors like tree size and difficulty to access, the cost of removing a tree can be anywhere between $100 and $1,700.
- Clean your gutters frequently as you will need all drainage systems functioning properly during heavy rains.
- Check your door hinges and locks to make sure they are sturdy and aren’t in need of reinforcement.
If a tornado or hurricane is expected to head in your direction soon and you have some time to prepare, these steps could help keep provide some extra protection:
- Board up the windows to protect against broken glass and objects coming in through the windows.
- Turn off the utilities to protect against gas or water leaks if any pipe breakage occurs.
- Bring any loose outdoor items inside. Heavy outdoor items can get picked up by high winds and turned into ramming devices.
- Bring the family and pets into the basement or storm cellar to wait out the storm.
- Hailstorms can put holes through shingles, break glass, dent house siding, and rip gutters right off the side of a house. Protect any breakable items outside of the home by bringing them inside during a hailstorm or putting them in a covered area.
Lightning and Electrical Glitches
During summertime, a lot of people are running heavy-duty air conditioners and fans. This also means that the power grid is getting overworked and overloaded, which can lead to rolling blackouts or brownouts where power is seriously drained but does not fully go out. There is also the risk of lightning strikes, which can also cause issues with electric appliances, especially surges.
- If you are seeing a lot of blackouts or serious dimming of lights, it is important to protect expensive items such as smart TVs and computers with surge protectors.
- Make sure that your home’s electric wires are updated and properly grounded in case of serious power fluctuations.
- Further protect your items by unplugging them rather than just turning them off during serious storms.
The attic is a forgotten area of the home that often becomes a place to hide things, with stuff hauled up there and then left until someone decides they might need it. Summer heat can become more than oppressive in this area, and it can become quite dangerous.
- Vents in the attic are important for pushing out the hot air. Hot air rises, so the attic can end up being several degrees warmer than the rest of the house. Coupled with sunlight and dried materials, that could mean an increased risk of spontaneous fires.
- Properly insulate the floor of the attic so that cooled air is not allowed to travel through the ceiling and then out the roof. This is where ceiling fans will be key because they will recirculate the air. Make sure that the blades are turned so that they are pulling cooler air up and then around the room for the best results.
While all seasons bring a new set of issues for homes and other structures, the extreme temperatures and weather patterns of summer can be particularly trying on a home and the systems within it. Take steps to protect your home now rather than waiting until after the damage is done.