How Mother Nature Can Damage Your Home | How to Protect Your House

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November 1, 2017
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Mother nature can damage home sweet home

Once again, this is from guest blogger Debbie Gartner about protecting your most precious investment. Winter can do a number on any house and while the winter’s in the northeast are often mild, mother nature often throws us a curve ball.  Yes, mother nature can do a number on our homes. 

Enjoy the post…Ruthmarie

Here are some steps you can take to protect the value of your home and protect it from the elements.

How mother nature can damage your home and how to protect your houseWhether it’s a hurricane, tornado, flooding, fire, frozen pipes, snow, ice or hail, none of it good for your house. Sticking to a good home maintenance program can definitely help. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I hope these tips will either prevent damage and/or help you minimize it.

Preventative Maintenance

One of the best things you can do to protect your house from the elements is to do preventative maintenance. Here in Westchester County, we have a full 4 seasons. Each of these seasons means changes in weather and they can impact your home. This article on home maintenance checklist.will walk through through the tasks you’ll want to do weekly/monthly as well as for each of the four seasons of the year.

Ice Damming

Ice damming and protecting your house from mother nature | Westchester CountyYes, sometimes we get a LOT of snow here in Westchester NY. Some winters are mild, others have heavy snow fall. But, either way, homeowners can get ice damming, and when it happens, it’s rather costly (as your roof gets damaged, as well as ceiling, walls and often flooring) and it’s a pain to fix (because some of it can’t be fixed until the spring when it’s warm enough).

What is ice damming? It’s when the snow starts to melt, it melts unevenly, and then it refreezes lower on the roof. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to spot (i.e. part of the roof melt faster than others…and you usually see icicles on the eaves), and once you have it, it’s fairly easy to fix. Usually it comes down to better insulation and ventilation. You can read more about it here: 7 Tips to prevent ice damming on your roof.

Flood and water damage prevention

protecting your house from mother nature | Westchester NYWater, in all its forms, is usually the most destructive element, and the majority of home insurance claims are due water damage and/or its symptoms such as mold. Some water damage is sudden (e.g. from a large storm, or broken appliance such as a water heater or overflowing toilet). And, sometimes, the water damage and seepage is gradual, taking place over many years (e.g. if the gutters are damaged or you have grading issues on your property).

This article, 11 Tips to prevent flood damage goes into many solutions to both prevent flooding as well as how to minimize its impact if you find yourself in the middle of a flood. And, if you do have a flood or other water damage, this article on how to save hardwood floors after a flood and tips to help you with filing your insurance.

Hurricane recovery

hurricane recover - mother natureHurricanes can be devastating to many people in an area. We got hit pretty hard here in Westchester during Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. The storms hit us in different ways, but there was a lot of damage to a lot of homes.

And, of course a portion of those home were on the market…and this wasn’t fun for those home owners. So homes needed to repaired, inspected and/or just got delayed (as the area wasn’t driveable and some were without power for 2 weeks).

This article on How to sell your house after a hurricane is particularly helpful. It has tips on what to do immediately after a hurricane (including safety tips), how to repair and how to ultimately sell a house after a hurricane (or other natural disaster.

Fire

protecting your home from nature's element - house fire | Westchester CountyWhile fires happen less often, when they happen, they can be scary, life threatening and extremely destructive. Sometime the whole house is burned down. Often fires happen by accident (especially due to fires from cooking) and sometimes due to the weather/just plain dumb luck (e.g. lightning strikes, brush fires).

It’s important to take the obvious precautions such as be careful cooking, avoid smoking or using candles (especially at night or when you’re tired), have smoke detectors (and replace the batteries), have a fire extinguisher on hand, teach your kids good habits. Here are some more fire prevention tips.

Have a back up plan – Insurance

Yes, you should have a good home insurance plan. (You’ve heard about Murphy’s Law, right…so don’t let it happen to you). Be sure to fully understand and research your policy (often you will do better if you work through an insurance agent as they will explain things to you and work to find the best plan for YOU).

Note: Many people make the mistake of getting a very high deductible (e.g. $5,000 or even higher). They often do this to save money on their monthly plan. While that is true, it’s important to understand that if you do have an issue with your home, you need to pay the first $5000 and then your insurance kicks in to pay the rest. This can definitely cost you a lot of money if you have a claim and if you’re in a tight financial situation. So weigh out the risk here.

And, please also be aware that most home insurance policies do NOT include flood insurance (and most people don’t realize). Flood insurance covers when water seeps from the outside of your house into the inside of your house. It’s usually a separate and more expensive policy.

You may find this article on Home Insurance for 1st time buyers helpful.

Conclusion

Sometimes, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. But, thankfully, there are many steps we can take to minimize the damage she can do to our home. Simple maintenance items help make sure our house is in good condition. And, then beyond that, it’s important to invest in a good home insurance policy. For most of us, our home is our largest financial asset. Treat it the way, and it will treat you well for years to come.

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Email: Ruthmarie@TheWestchesterView.net

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