6 Tips for Repairing Your Home After a Hurricane
Living in the South, you know the damage a hurricane can do to your home. Once you and your family are safe, it’s time to assess the damage and get started on fixing and rebuilding. We are tough and resilient down here and can handle a little weather, but it’s important to remember hurricane safety measures as the season approaches.
The CDC always recommends you use proper safety equipment before starting any cleanup. That means wearing thick gloves, a face mask, a hard hat and tall, waterproof boots. You aren’t prepared to fix up anything until you are sure you won’t get hurt in the process.
Do not start any work until the storm has cleared and daylight has begun. The power is often out after a storm and working without lights is a serious hazard.
Do a full walk-around of both the inside and outside of your home to fully understand what needs to be done. Look for holes, flooding, broken windows and door damage. This will all need to be replaced or you may risk permanent water damage. Always work with a partner, so that you can watch each other’s backs for potential unseen hazards.
If you’ve put up plywood to protect your house, carefully remove it, collecting the nails as you go. Also, be sure to check your lawn for any sewage overflow — you will need to call a professional to pump your septic tank if it has overflowed during the storm.
Look for Secondary Damage
Besides the obvious signs of damage like fallen trees or a leaking roof, you should keep your eye out for hidden dangers. Standing water can be a cause of electrocution. If you see downed power lines around water, stay away from them and contact your utility company immediately.
Hurricanes can also set off chemical fires inside your home. Once safely put out and the fire department deems you can re-enter the home, research how to get fire smoke smell out of the house. Not only is it foul to smell, but it can contain harmful toxins. Remember to never use water to put out a grease or chemical fire. Always call the fire department instantly.
Check Your HVAC
Flooding in your HVAC system can be a difficult issue to resolve. In as little as 24 hours, harmful mold can start to grow in damp areas. A moldy HVAC will send spores flying into every nook and cranny of your home, potentially spreading a fungus colony.
Contact your HVAC provider to determine whether you’ll need a full replacement or just some repairs.
Always take pictures of all the damage to show your insurance provider. When in doubt, take a photo — the more evidence you have, the more you can get covered.
Prepare For The Next Emergency
Once the cleanup process is complete, it’s time to think about the next disaster. If you don’t have one already, make an emergency kit today containing the following:
• Battery/solar/crank radio
• Fire extinguisher
• Change of clothes
• Medication and first aid supplies
• Bottled water, non-perishable food
• External phone chargers
Get your house ready too. Make sure your shutters all work to protect your home from broken glass and get proper insulation to keep your property water-tight. Even refurbish your storm shelter to have a safe space to ride out the next storm.
You won’t know for sure when the next hurricane is coming and you might not have time then to prepare. Get ready now and thank yourself later.