The weather this summer has been a roller coaster. Heavy thunderstorms and punishingly hot weather with high humidity have made staying at home very appealing. But some have regretted not preparing for this extreme weather and found themselves with soggy basements and failing air conditioners. Here are 5 tips for preparing for the worst!
1. Exterior Waterproofing
The surest way to waterproof your basement walls is a full-scale exterior waterproofing solution. Exterior waterproofing involves excavating all around the house to the full depth of the foundation walls, then installing a waterproof coating or membrane topped by drainage panels. The panels provide an easy path for water to flow down to an exterior French drain at the bottom of your foundation. From there, water flows by gravity — or with the aid of a sump pump — away from your foundation to another part of your property, or into a storm drain.
2. Air Conditioner Maintenance
An air conditioner’s filters, coils, and fins require regular maintenance for the unit to function effectively and efficiently throughout its years of service. Neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases. Check out the Department of Energy’s Energy Saver 101 Infographic: Home Cooling
for more ways to help improve your comfort and the efficiency of your air conditioner.
There is routine maintenance that you can do yourself, like changing the air filters. But it is also recommended to have a professional check your system every spring to catch potential problems before you crank up the A/C for the summer.
3. Getting the Fridge Ready for a Blackout
Ice, in addition to being another source of water in a blackout, will also help keep your foods frozen longer. If you have a lot of extra space in your refrigerator or freezer, fill containers of water and leave at least an inch of headspace. Not only does this frozen water maintain the temperature of your fridge or freezer in a blackout, but it won’t have to use as much energy to keep things cool. Have a cooler on hand in case you really need to keep something cold, like certain medications.
A full freezer will last up to 48 hours, a half-full freezer will last up to 24 hours. But it’s best to use a food thermometer before cooking or eating anything from your fridge after a blackout.
4. Trimming the Trees
Generally, trees should sit about 15 feet away from a house to prevent dead limbs and detritus from falling on the roof in a storm. Some large species need a little more room while smaller species can be a bit closer.
You can figure out if a tree is too close to a home in two steps.
1) Give it a closer look. If the tree is hanging over the house, or even has branches touching the roof, it’s probably too close.
2) If the tree’s not actually scraping the roof (but looks awfully close), phone in an expert. They’ll let you know if the tree poses a threat to the home or its foundation.
5. Plan Your Evacuation Routes
Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate. Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency. If needed, identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters allow only service animals. Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area. Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster. More tips can be found at Ready.gov
We never know what the weather might bring, so we hope for the best and prepare for the worst. If you would like to contact one of our trusted vendors to help get your home ready for extreme weather, call Geva and Jane at 571.249.4382 today!