Hurricane Precautions to take in South Florida | Team 22 Realty

Dated: July 6 2021

Views: 67

Hurricane season is an experience not to be missed. The sights and sounds of a hurricane are unlike anything else in the world, but what's it really like? What should you expect if you're living in South Florida? Read on to find out, or check out this VIDEO that talks all about it!

Hurricanes have been affecting this area for hundreds of years, so there's no question that Floridians know how to prepare for them. However, hurricanes can come with little warning and change course at any time. Keep reading for some things you might want to consider before the storm comes knocking!

If you own real estate along a coastline, you follow the weather forecast closely during the summer and fall, notoriously known as hurricane season. Hurricanes are hitting the coast between June 1 and November 30, some of them leaving severe damage and devastation in their wake.

Each year, hurricanes and storm-related flooding create around $34 billion in damage to U.S. households. The worst hurricane I really remember was Katrina. Power was out for 2-4 weeks, we made daily gas trips to find gas. My father had to come get me at a friends house and was pissed because he lost the topper to his work truck, it got blown off by the winds they were so strong.

As a home owner in one of these hurricane hot spots, you'll want to take some proactive measures to protect your property. And not just during peak season but year-round. Here is what you should focus on when hurricane-proofing your home.

1- Install high-impact windows throughout

Windows are one of the most exposed parts of a home when it comes to storm damage. Hurricane impact windows and doors are one of the first things we mention when showing the buyer a home to look for. In addition to guarding the house itself, high-impact windows help insulate the home and can also lower the cost of your insurance premiums and energy bill.

After the huge damage of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, many coastal cities started applying building codes that needed new homes built with hurricane-impact windows. But if your house is older, you may want to invest in an upgrade.

When shopping for hurricane-proof windows, check the Design Pressure rating, which measures water infiltration, air infiltration, and structural load. A DP rating of approximately 50 should withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour and pressure of 75 pounds per square foot.

The cost of these windows will range widely depending on size, material, brand, and special features. Still, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per window, including installation.

Homeowners usually need a permit to install new windows, and a post-inspection is also required. In most cases, the installer cooperates with the city to take care of those details.

2 - Strengthen your roof

We've all seen hurricane footage of destroyed homes whose roofs have been blown off. I've noticed that happen even in winds of under 50 miles per hour in the absence of a high-impact roof.

The most hurricane-resistant roofing material is metal. It can protect against wind gusts of up to 140 miles per hour. Made from tin, steel, copper, aluminum, or zinc, metal roofs are a more expensive option and last 50 years or more, and are more long-lasting than asphalt shingles.

In Florida, most new homes are built with architectural shingles, which can resist winds of up to 130 miles per hour and last 20 to 30 years. Architectural shingles are thicker and 50% heavier than traditional three-tab asphalt shingles, making them a better choice in hurricane-prone areas.

If your roof system can hold winds of up to 150 miles per hour, characteristic of a Category 5 hurricane, you can be qualified to receive an insurance discount! And if you're thinking about selling your home, the buyer may opt to get a wind reduction report as part of the home inspection.

3 - Reinforce your entry points

Garage doors are the biggest entry to your home, making them an area of high vulnerability in a hurricane. If your garage door is not impact-rated, the severe winds could remove it from the opening, causing air pressure to build up and likely blow off the roof.

If you live in a hurricane-prone zone, it's worth it to pay for hurricane-resistant garage doors, such as Clopay's WindCode series. These doors have steel support, extra hardware, and spring components that provide added strength and durability against extreme wind pressures. Be sure to check the manufacturer's classification for wind resistance and make sure they meet any code requirements in your area.

4 - Protect and secure your HVAC system

A hurricane can easily cause thousands of dollars of damage to a home's HVAC system.

Before the storm, apply hurricane straps or a protecting cage to secure the base; put a trap over the unit to guard it against any loose objects or debris. Remove any foliage, bushes, or loose things from around the house to prevent impact damage. Cool down the home as much as you can in case of a future power outage. Plan an HVAC professional to check the system and perform any needed maintenance. Consider investing in a backup generator to keep the system working in the event of an outage.

During the storm, shut down the thermostat and circuit breakers for your HVAC system to limit damage to the unit.

After the storm, when it's safe to step outside, check the HVAC unit for any dents or other damage. Have a professional inspect the house to make sure it's dry and safe to work. Never turn the power on if you notice water in or around the house! If you don't see apparent damage to the unit, turn on the circuit breaker and listen for any irregular noises. Record any damage so you can show them to your insurance company. Do these affordable, last-minute hurricane prep projects.

5 - Keep the necessities on hand

In a power surge during a hurricane, a surge protector can help cover electronic devices by transferring the electrical current from the outlet to the devices plugged into the strip.

Suppose the power goes out during a storm. In that case, a home generator will keep the fridge, AC system, lighting, stove, and other necessary appliances running to keep you safe and comfortable.

Sandbags can be placed around the house to divert water away from home and prevent flood damage.

Make sure you got some flashlights, plenty of extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, a first-aid kit, and enough water with non-perishable food for three days.

BONUS- Don't forget these overlooked areas.

Perform a detailed audit! Scram built-up leaves and debris from the gutters from time to time. Clear gutters will drain faster and help limit roof leaks. While you're doing it, secure any loose gutters to prevent them from getting pulled away by hurricane winds. Reroute your downspouts away from the foundation of your home. This will help avert rainwater as far away as possible from your basement or crawl space. Remove any damaged or dead tree branches that could break and fall on the house during a storm. Check your outdoor drains.

Remember - even one clogged area drain can bring you a mountain of flooding problems.

Proactive preparation is the best-case scenario, but what if a hurricane is headed your way and you only got hours or minutes to get ready? The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has identified these last-minute steps to minimize damage to your home.

The simple act of closing interior doors can reduce pressure on the roof by up to 30%, which gives it the best chance of staying intact during a storm.

Staying informed is key to being safe. The National Hurricane Center shares real-time updates of hurricane forecasts. It's also a great idea to keep a battery-powered radio on hand for local news and enable wireless emergency warnings on your mobile phone.

Items like outdoor décor, bicycles, patio furniture, planters, and other loose items can be swept away or cause damage to constructions in hurricane winds. Also, defend any loose fencing, deck boards, and mailboxes.

Before the storm hits, make a list or video of your belongings, so you'll know what's missing or damaged if you have to file an insurance claim.

Hurricane risk is one of the costs of enjoying life on the shore. If your property is in the path of one of these severe storms, a little preparation can go a long way to protecting your home and the people who live in it.

We hope these 5 tips help you prepare for the hurricane season ahead. If there's anything we missed, let us know and we'll add it to this list! Remember that if a hurricane does make landfall in South Florida, our team will be here providing updates on social media so stay tuned. As always, don't forget to take care of yourself during a storm by practicing self-care and staying away from home unless absolutely necessary. You can also find more information about life in South Florida on our YouTube channel, Living in South Florida - feel free to check out some videos there as well!

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Alain Brodeur

A realtor, a chef, and a traveler all walk into a bar, and that’s just the first guy! Actually, it’s me, Alain Brodeur. I’m a 3rd generation realtor from the beautiful area of South Florida, whe....

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