Weathering the Storm | The voice of Apopka
5 tips for preparing for disasters
(Family Features) Over the past year, homeowners coast to coast have faced struggles with Mother Nature, from arctic storms and heat waves to powerful hurricanes. Not only can storms wreak havoc on homes, they damage the fragile power grid, which can lead to power outages that can sometimes leave families in the dark for days or weeks.
While no preparation can stop the forces of nature, planning ahead to handle blackouts can have a significant impact on you and your family. Prepare your home for what lies ahead with these tips from the Propane Education & Research Council and Anthony Carrino, a home designer, developer and contractor with over 20 years of industry experience.
You might not realize it, but tasks like cleaning gutters and maintaining your vegetation can make a big difference in a major storm. If your gutters are full of debris, the water draining from your roof has no place to go, which could lead to significant damage to your roof, siding, and even your foundation.
Falling branches and trees can cause a lot of damage not only to your home, but also to surrounding power lines, which can easily break, so it’s a good idea to keep a close watch on any branches that might be affected by it. Strong winds and clearing quickly are especially risky in bad weather.
If you have the time, you should also secure any outdoor furniture or personal effects that might fly away or be damaged by the storm. If you have them, attach the storm shutters. It’s also a good idea to evaluate the leveling of your yard at least once a year to make sure the soil is moving away from the house to keep water from pooling against your foundation.
Major weather events are often accompanied by prolonged power outages. Homeowners can turn to portable generators to rekindle the lights after the storm has passed. However, they are hard to find and can only power a small part of a family’s home.
Unlike a portable generator, which can only power a few devices in a home, a propane back-up generator or back-up generator can be a complete home solution, depending on the size of the unit. When a homeowner purchases a standby generator, a licensed technician installs the unit outside the home and hooks it up to the home’s electrical system. When a power failure occurs, the generator automatically detects the interruption in service and starts the generator motor, which then supplies electricity to certain appliances in the house.
Back-up propane generators can provide additional electricity in as little as 10 seconds after an outage. They are available in a variety of capacities to meet the needs of any home size and can power many major appliances, including furnaces, boilers, water heaters, kitchen equipment, fireplaces, and dryers.
For homes that already run on propane, consider running important systems and appliances like the furnace, water heater, stove, and propane fireplace to keep them running even during a power outage. The more propane-powered devices there are, the smaller and cheaper your back-up generator can be. Plus, propane is environmentally friendly and won’t degrade over time like other fuel sources, ensuring the back-up generator reliably powers your home to give you added peace of mind.
If your home is hit by a major storm, you may need to manually shut off the electricity, gas, or water to avoid a life-threatening situation or other damage. Refresh your memory regularly on the location of the shut-off valves. If your home has a propane tank, open the tank cover to reveal the shutoff valve, then turn it clockwise to shut off the propane. If there are multiple tanks, turn them all off in the same way. If possible, make sure that at least two family members are able to make a safe stop in case someone is injured or unable to access the stop site. If you turn off the propane, be sure a qualified technician from your propane supplier turns the gas back on and checks for leaks. Making sure there are no issues is another step in protecting your family after a service disruption.
When your home is on the way to a major storm, insurance is an important way to protect your investment. Reviewing your insurance coverage at least once a year, if not every six months, can help you stay informed about possible exclusions and ensure you have the opportunity to increase your limits if you have made improvements or if the values have increased in your area.
An important aspect of good coverage is a complete inventory of your possessions that details what you own and could potentially lose in a major storm. Including details such as purchase price and condition can help ease the way if you need to file a claim.
Storms can blow quickly, so having emergency supplies that you can grab quickly can help make your storm response easier. Includes flashlights, battery-powered radio, cell phone charger, and cash. You should also include first aid supplies, essential medicines for all family members, non-perishable food, and an adequate supply of water. Also include clothes and toiletries, as well as supplies for taking care of your pets. It’s also a good idea to have copies of important documents like your insurance policy, an emergency contact list, and any other personal documents you may need.
By planning ahead with an emergency kit, propane generator, and other steps, you can put your family and home in a better position to ride as comfortably and safely as possible – giving you peace of mind. of spirit during and after bad weather. Event.
Find more ideas to help you prepare your home for storms at Propane.com/Generators.
Photos courtesy of Anthony Carrino, TheBuild.tv