Storms can hit throughout the year in the United States, wreaking havoc on your home and threatening to cause damage to your property and personal belongings. In parts of the Northeast, thunderstorms are most common and frequently occur in the summer. When a storm hits, no matter where you live, you can be prepared and protect your home from potential damage.
Prevent Sewer Backup
With heavy rain may come backed-up drains. Sometimes storm drains can’t handle a large amount of precipitation in a short period of time, and storm water can overload the main lines of a sanitary sewer system. When this happens, backups may occur in both the street and your basement. The chances of a backup occurring are greater if your drains and sewer are already clogged.
While you may not be able to control Mother Nature’s showers, you can practice drain and sewer maintenance to help prevent backups:
- Keep certain things out of your drains like fats, oils, and grease, and clean them regularly with natural items like baking soda to relieve buildup and clogs.
- A plumber can snake your drain once or twice a year to remove more intense buildup that can cause clogging.
- Have your main sewer line inspected to detect for obstructions such as tree roots.
Protect Against Flooding and Water Damage
Part of preventing sewer backups involves having a plan if water or sewage does enter your home. Heavy rainfall increases the risk of basement flooding, which can damage property including carpeting, furniture, and personal belongings. Moisture in the air can also lead to mold formation, which can be damaging to both your home and health. A snowball effect is often the case when water finds its way into your home.
What you can do:
- Clear gutters of leaves and debris so they can adequately collect storm water.
- Make sure downspouts drain away from your foundation by at least a few feet.
- Install a sump pump as part of an interior drainage system.
- Use a sump pump with a battery backup in the case of electrical loss.
Prevent Electricity Loss
When a thunderstorm hits, you might start lighting candles and checking flashlight batteries to prepare for a power outage. To prevent the loss of electricity for any length of time and at any time of year, a backup generator may be the best solution. It provides both convenience and safety by keeping important parts of your home running, especially heating and air conditioning. During a storm, losing power for a long period of time can mean inconvenient and unsafe conditions for you and your loved ones.
Benefits of a backup generator:
- Turns on automatically within 10 seconds of a power outage.
- Keeps major appliances and other devices running for as long as electricity is lost.
- Provides protection at any time of year to keep your home and family safe.
Protect Against Power Surges
Power surges occur when an increase in voltage greatly surpasses the designated level in a flow of electricity. When this happens, depending on the intensity, damage is caused to your electrical devices either immediately or over time. Lightning is a commonly known cause of power surges and the most intense. If it strikes in the right place during a storm, you may be facing an electrical fire or serious, irreversible damage to your electronics.
What you can do:
- Invest in an individual or whole-home surge protector that provides protection by detecting for spikes in electrical currents and diverting them to the grounding wire of an outlet.
- Unplug computers, televisions, phone chargers, etc. during a storm to prevent electrical damage.
- Upgrade your home’s electrical capacity to meet the demands of your electrical needs. The operation of high-power devices such as air conditioners and refrigerators can cause brief power surges that may lead to significant damage over time.
Taking steps to prepare your home before a storm hits can help to keep serious, costly damage and dangerous conditions from happening. Having an emergency supply on hand is also important for the safety of yourself and loved ones. Supplies like water, nonperishable food, a safety first aid kit, and a battery-powered radio can help you to stay safe in the case of a severe storm.
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