The summer of 2016 was a doozie for the Southeast. With all of the flooding in Louisiana and Texas, devastating tornados, wicked bad heat waves, it’s safe to say we were all very relieved when we heard that weather experts were predicting a mild and completely livable fall.
While it’s understandable that you might want to live in denial that summer will come back, there is no better time to prep for the severe seasons than in those that are mild. Waiting until the intense summer issues actually hit guarantees that the stores will be low on stock, prices for supplies will be high and that your ability to actually get the work done will be small. Here are some of the things you can do right now to not just recover from the summer we just finished but to prep for the one ahead.
Insurance: Get Some
One of the reasons this summer’s flooding was so devastating wasn’t just the damage done to physical property but the lack of flood insurance among those hit the hardest. Without that insurance, paying for repairs or rebuilding what was washed away becomes nearly impossible. If you haven’t updated or checked out your insurance policies recently, now’s the time to do that and to make sure you’re completely covered. After all, this summer taught us that anything can and likely will happen.
Choose a Reliable Power Supplier
One of the best things about living in a deregulated energy market is being able to choose the provider with the lowest rates. Take some time to check out the various providers in your area. Instead of looking just at rates, spend some time exploring each provider’s reliability. Look into backups and contingency plans. Are they able to provide power even when the weather is inclement? If power does go out, are they able to repair and restore it quickly? Your city or state likely has a site similar to this Direct Energy Edmonton site that is popular with our northern neighbors. Spend some time comparing and contrasting your local providers.
This is particularly important if you use natural gas or propane to power or heat your home. During terrible weather and natural disasters, these lines can become a real hazard.
Take Steps to Reduce Your Power Consumption
If you get into the habit of using less power now, an unexpected power outage won’t be nearly the problem that it is now. You probably already do most of the basics: turning out the lights when you leave the room, putting on sweaters instead of turning up the thermostat, etc. Here are a few more steps you can take:
Rearrange your furniture: arrange your furniture to take advantage of natural light and heat sources. In the winter focus the furniture around fireplaces and woodstoves. In the summer, push it back so that you can read and work using the light that comes through your windows.
Upgrade your windows: there are two reasons to upgrade your current windows–especially if you are still using single paned glass. The first is that a lot of air leeches into and out of a home through the windows. The second is that when the wind kicks up and the weather gets intense, your windows pose a safety hazard. Breaking and broken glass can cause dozens of different kinds of injuries to your family and pets.
Weatherize the outside of your home: There are a lot of ways to do this, but one of the best is to keep the sun from shining directly on your windows. Many families block the sun’s rays by hanging screens over the outsides of their windows during the winter months. Sure this is cheaper, but you should really consider shutters. They’ll keep the sun out and protect your windows during storms.
Take steps to avoid heat buildup: make sure your home is properly ventilated so that the heat you generate inside your home can escape easily. This is just as important during the winter months when you have to worry about the buildup of carbon monoxide from fireplaces, stoves, etc as in the summer months when you want to keep your home as cool as possible.
Redo Your Landscaping
Planting trees is a great way to help shade your home and keep it cool during the summer. Unfortunately those same trees are vulnerable to extreme weather and pose a real threat to your home. While we wouldn’t advocate the moving of old growth (whose root structures help them stay standing), if you’re doing new planting, plant away from your house.
Nobody can prevent the unexpected. But you can prepare for it. Use these tips to help prepare yourself for whatever next summer throws at us .