All it takes is one significant storm to turn a calm summer day into one that’s not long forgotten.
“A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook,” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA administrator. She added that in 1992, a period where only seven named storms developed – far less than the average 12 that occur each year – Hurricane Andrew stormed up the Eastern seaboard, reaching Florida as Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
It isn’t just hurricanes that bear watching in the summer months. Thunder and lightning storms are more frequent when the weather gets warmer, and for tornadoes, there’s never an off-season; they can occur anywhere, anytime, even in unusual places like the Northeast, which rarely sees twisters.
In short, as a homeowner, maintenance is a key component to ensuring your residence and your family are safe when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. The following are some of the things you should be sure to do this summer.
Trim tree branches, bushes
It takes several years for trees to grow full size. Branches that last year were only “yea big” may now be touching the siding or windows of your home. Even if they aren’t quite there yet, they may be if the winds pick up. To prevent branches from damaging your residence, trim them back several inches. This has the added benefit of preventing moisture from collecting, which, if left unchecked, can lead to termite infestation.
Dispose of tree branches properly
Depending on how much pruning you do, you’ll have a lot of tree branches lying around, which can pose a problem when mowing. Plus, they can make a tidy lawn look messy. If you have a grinder or chipper, you can use the remnants for mulching. Alternatively, you may want to assemble a debris pile for a bonfire. Just make sure that the pile is well away from any standing structures or overhanging trees.
Leave major projects to the professionals
Perhaps there’s a tree in your yard that’s become a real nuisance, preventing you from being able to see out your kitchen or bedroom window. So you may want to cut down the tree altogether. If you’re not an experienced arborist, your best bet is to let an expert handle it.
“Most homeowners simply don’t have the tools, knowledge or experience necessary to safely attempt their own tree work,” said Tchukki Andersen, staff arborist at the Tree Care Industry Association. “We hear many unfortunate stories each year of homeowners getting severely injured or killed while attempting this dangerous, and often misunderstood, work on their own.”
Survey the land
Sometimes the best way to determine what needs to be done is to actively observe your yard, looking for things that seem out of place or that could pose a problem when there’s a chance for a property disaster because of a storm. For instance, check the inside of your gutters. If they haven’t been cleaned out, it’s a good idea to do this now to prevent localized flooding if it gets especially rainy. Plus, if you live in a wooded area, they’re bound to collect dirt and debris once the leaves start falling in autumn.
Stock up on gasoline
If you have power tools that require gasoline, make sure that your gas canisters have plenty of fuel. If there’s ever a power outage due to high winds or flooding, you won’t be able to get gas at your local fueling station if there’s no electricity. Also, if your chainsaw or lawnmower requires a special kind of fuel, it’s smart to label the canisters so you don’t accidentally use the wrong one.
By taking these proactive measures, your fall home maintenance schedule will be a whole lot easier to do once the weather turns cooler.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. It does not replace or modify the information contained in your insurance policy.