Living in the suburbs has its advantages, with cleaner air to breathe and more green spaces to walk around in, but it can also have its drawbacks. With many suburban homes detached, homeowners have to protect all four sides of their property from the elements, as well as the roof and the foundations.
Lately, Canadians and Americans have had to endure all types of weather, from searing high temperatures to freezing cold, from wind and rain to storms and hurricanes. So violent can some of these high winds be that many towns now post regular storm alerts and severe weather warnings so that suburbanites and townies can take steps to protect themselves and their homes.
Roofs need to be checked, ideally by a roofing professional who will have the necessary safety gear, not to mention roofing knowledge, at least once a year to ensure that all of its component parts are securely held down. Loose tiles should be replaced, and it might be beneficial to bang a few extra nails into these and other materials so they will be able to withstand winds better. Gable roofs are more vulnerable than other types and should be braced. Plantation shutters are an attractive and very effective way of protecting window frames and glass from breakages during rough weather.
You also need to review your garden and backyard. If they contain sheds and other semi-permanent structures, ensure that these are sunk into the ground and placed on foundations, or are otherwise anchored to the ground.
Clear away any fallen branches or trees in the garden or backyard. If these contain young trees or saplings, consider putting a wire cage around them to stop them falling over or being pulled up in high winds.
There are some areas of Canada and the US that are prone to flooding, like Manitoba is currently facing, it is difficult for an individual to halt flooding, there are some measures one can take to protect the home. Ensure that eaves, troughs and drains are clear of dead leaves, twigs and other debris so that water can run away easily, without encountering blockages.
If a basement contains a sump pump, conduct regular checks to ensure it is working properly, and consider having a backup generator should the main electricity supply fail. To avoid losing utility services in the home, make sure that the furnace, water heater and electric panel are elevated off the floor. Although it is unlikely that you will be moving your existing water heater or furnace, when considering a replacement water heater or furnace, even a slight elevation off the floor can be helpful in emergency flood situations
If the weather turns extremely hot as it has over the last couple of weeks in many of our ‘burbs, it is best to try to keep the home cool by pulling curtains and blinds on those windows that receive direct sunlight. These windows can also be covered with a reflective film, or even tinfoil, so the solar heat is bounced off. If the home has air conditioning, ensure that all seals on windows and doors are tight so that the AC unit does not have to work extra hard, and check all central air ducts.
These are just a few of the considerations that homeowners should make to protect their home from the wind, rain and sun. Feel free to add in the comments section additional ideas that you make to protect your home from the elements.