As the impacts of climate change become more apparent, Orlando, Florida, like many other cities, is grappling with the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. As stated by the Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, Southeast U.S. has experienced a significant increase in the number of heatwaves, heavy downpours, and in some regions, hurricanes.
Notably, the Orlando area, renowned for its tropical climate, has experienced a 0.72-inch increase in heavy rainfall over the past couple of years. Such unpredictable weather conditions can cause significant damage to homes, turning a seemingly serene environment into a chaotic one in no time. Proactively preparing your home can turn these potential disasters into manageable events, ensuring your home remains a sanctuary no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.
Here are a series of measures you can take to protect your home from the devastating effects of extreme weather.
Floods can be devastating, causing extensive damage to homes and disrupting lives. In recent years, Florida has seen an increase in the frequency and severity of floods due to climate change and the state’s unique geographical attributes. When preparing for a potential flood in Orlando, homeowners should focus on safeguarding their homes from water damage.
Firstly, it is crucial to assess your flood risk. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides flood maps that can aid in comprehending the specific flood risk in your area.
However, if your home has already suffered significant flood damage, contact a reliable Orlando Water Damage restoration company for a free onsite inspection. Once they assess the severity of water damage and the time, money, and effort required for repairs, they’ll give you an exact quote.
Nevertheless, once you’ve dealt with prior damage, it is time to prepare your home to withstand the next flood.
- Raise Electrical Systems: One of the most significant risks during flooding is the damage to electrical systems, which can lead to more significant issues like fires. Elevate electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers, and wiring at least a foot above the projected flood level for your home.
- Sump Pump Installation: Sump pumps help keep your basement or crawl space dry by directing water away from your home. Ensure you have a sump pump with a battery backup system in case of power failure during a flood.
- Use Flood-Resistant Materials: Use materials like concrete, tiled floors, and water-resistant drywall for your home’s construction, especially for the basement and ground floor. These materials can better withstand water damage and speed up recovery after a flood.
In addition to these steps, consider creating barriers to prevent or reduce water flow into your home. These can include berms, floodwalls, and floodgates.
Hurricane and Wind Protection:
If you’re located in an area often hit by hurricanes or high winds, fortifying your home against these forces is essential. These weather events can generate winds of extraordinary strength, capable of causing significant property damage, especially to structures not built or modified to withstand such forces.
Here are some measures to bolster your home against hurricanes and high winds:
- Storm Shutters and Windows: One of the first lines of defense against high winds are storm shutters. These robust protective layers can shield your windows from flying debris. If permanent storm shutters aren’t your preference, 5/8” marine plywood can be cut to fit and serves as a sturdy alternative.
- Doors and Garage Doors: High winds can turn doors into dangerous projectiles. Strengthening your doors and garage doors, either by using impact-resistant models or adding braces to existing ones, can significantly mitigate this risk.
- Roof Reinforcement: The roof is another vital part of your home that needs safeguarding. Ensure your roof shingles are hurricane-rated and reinforce the connection between your roof and the walls of your house to prevent roof displacement during extreme wind events.
- Securing Loose Objects: Make sure loose objects in your yard, such as furniture, are securely fastened or stored away. In high winds, these items can become damaging projectiles.
Wildfire protection necessitates adopting a proactive approach centered around creating a defensible space and using fire-resistant materials. A defensible space is a safety zone around your home that serves as a barrier between your property and an advancing wildfire.
- Defensible Space: Maintain a minimum 30-foot safety zone around your house that’s clear of flammable vegetation. This includes dead plants, dried leaves, and overhanging branches.
- Fire-Resistant Landscaping: Incorporate fire-resistant plants in your landscaping, which are less likely to ignite and can act as a fire break.
- House Maintenance: Clear your gutters and roofs frequently to avoid the accumulation of flammable debris.
Heatwaves can be exceedingly harmful, causing symptoms such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. While a heatwave may not physically harm your home, it can make a home uncomfortable or even dangerous for its occupants. Here’s how you can make sure your home stays cool:
- Efficient Cooling Systems: Install high-quality climate control equipment and keep it serviced on a regular basis. This aids in maintaining a suitable temperature indoors.
- Reflective Measures: Use reflective window films, blinds, or curtains to reduce heat entering your home. This lessens the demand on your cooling systems and keeps the inside temperature bearable.
- Natural Shading: To provide shade, plant trees or construct awnings on the sun-exposed sides of your property. During a heatwave, this natural approach can drastically reduce the temperature in your home.
Winter Storm Protection:
Winter storms can bring heavy snow, ice, sleet, and harsh cold, causing significant home damage. It is critical to prepare your home for these tough conditions.
- Insulation: Properly insulate your home to keep it warm while lowering energy consumption. This includes any exposed pipes, walls, attics, and basements.
- Gutter Maintenance: Keep gutters clean and downspouts away from the house to avoid ice dams and water damage.
- Storm Doors and Windows: These add an extra layer of protection from cold air and precipitation while increasing energy efficiency.
- Heating System Maintenance: Have your heating system maintained once a year, and consider installing a backup heating source, such as a generator, to keep you warm in the event of a power outage.
These safeguards are an investment in your home and your peace of mind. While extreme weather might be unpredictable, taking these precautions can make your home safer and more resilient in the face of an increasingly turbulent and unpredictable climate.
Remember that preparing your home for extreme weather occurrences is a continual process that requires constant assessment and maintenance. Stay safe and secure in your home!