How to Prepare Your House For a Hurricane

By Terry Mehilos | Aug. 07, 2018 11:06 am PST

Illustration of storm approaching house

What can you do to prepare your house and appliances for a hurricane? Read the top hurricane safety tips for keeping your yard, roof, windows, doors and home appliances safe before the storm.

Many people think hurricane damage is limited to those who live near the coast — but the effects can be felt 100 miles inland, according to

Thankfully, as disasters go, hurricanes often give us some warning. The main thing, of course, is that you and your family remain safe before, during and after the storm. But you should also prepare before the storm to help keep your home safe as well. Here are three areas to pay attention to:

1. Outside Your House

Pick up around the yard so potted plants, lawn ornaments, furniture and garbage cans don’t become projectiles, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends. Trim trees and shrubs to remove loose or dead limbs so they won’t damage your home, either.

Additionally, if you’ve got a pool, secure the cover, suggests Direct Energy. If you have a shed, make sure it’s tightly closed — you don’t want its door blowing off its hinges.

You should also make sure there’s nothing blocking your storm drains. This can help prevent water from building up and causing flooding.

2. Your House’s Exterior

Clean out downspouts and gutters and remove or tie down any that are loose, FEMA says. To help reduce roof damage, you may need to install additional straps or clips to fasten it to the house frame. These tasks can be dangerous and should be done by a professional.

Windows and doors may blow off in high winds. For best protection, cover all of your windows with permanent storm shutters or 5/8-inch exterior-grade or marine plywood, recommends.

Board up doors as well — and don’t forget about your garage door . Any open hole during a hurricane causes depressurization — when the crazy external winds meet the calm air on the inside — which can, in turn, cause a structure to collapse, according to Consumer Reports.

3. Your House’s Interior

There are some safety precautions you can take inside your home as well. First off, adjust your refrigerator temperature to the coldest setting, Direct Energy recommends. That way, if power is temporarily lost, there’s a greater chance your food won’t spoil.

You should also remove fuses from your air conditioning system to help prevent damage.

Because flooding is a concern, if you have to evacuate your home, unplug everything, including the fridge, dishwasher, washer, dryer, range and stove. Entering a room flooded with electrically charged water can be fatal.

To help prevent rust, corrosion and mechanical failure, move small appliances, such as TVs, vacuums and stereos, to a higher floor or onto a tabletop in case of flooding. Do the same with rugs.

Turn off your home’s main water valve — it’s usually on a perimeter wall in a straight line from the water meter — to help prevent flooding from broken pipes. Cut the electricity at your circuit breaker, and turn off the gas at each appliance. Let the professionals turn off your main gas line.

Follow these tips as you prepare to evacuate to help prevent damage and remain safe.

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