By Phillip B. Burum, Executive Vice President, Diversified Pacific, President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
Even though Southern California weather offers one of the biggest attractions for new residents and businesses, our weather in late summer and autumn can pose great risks for homes. Tumultuous environmental events such as wildfires, major wind events or thunderstorms can damage your home, especially if the home is not properly prepared for the change in seasons.
Today’s new homes are built to the highest safety standards in history. Here in the Baldy View Region, the bulk of the existing homes were built over the last few decades which means that your home was more than likely built to very modern standards and makes use of nearly a century of design innovation. Yet, all homeowners should remain especially vigilant about protecting their homes this time of year.
Physical protection is extremely important and we will address some of the specific things that each homeowner should do to prepare for the region’s abrupt weather patterns but, the first step in protecting the home is to carefully assess one’s homeowner policy. It is important to confirm that losses incurred as the result of a natural disaster or extraordinary storm conditions are adequately covered.
Flooding and earthquake damage are generally not covered by standard homeowner’s policy but can be purchased separately. Each of us has our own financial situation and risk tolerance level. Be sure to discuss individual goals and preferences with a qualified and trusted insurance broker.
To ensure adequate coverage on their possessions, homeowners should inventory their belongings and assess their replacement values. Make detailed lists or videos of belongings as documentation for the insurance company. Those lists and videos should be in a safe location such as a fireproof safe or a bank safety deposit box. These are simple steps that will help protect the financial investment in your home and the personal items inside.
This time of year, housekeeping is essential in protecting one’s home. Homeowners should inspect their yards and remove all dead and dying plants or limbs from trees or shrubs. Lawn furniture, trashcans, flowerpots, grills and other yard ornaments that can take flight during a major wind event should be secured or stored indoors. Those that will remain standing such as sheds, doghouses, playhouses, or swing sets should be carefully inspected for stability and likewise secured.
Roofs should be carefully inspected. For those in older homes, roof work may be an essential step in preparing the house to withstand a severe event. A licensed contractor should check for the structural integrity of the roof system. Once it passes inspection, fresh sealing should be applied around the home’s chimney or vent pipes to prevent water seepage.
Rain gutters and downspouts should be inspected and any debris cleared to protect the home’s foundation from flooding and structural damage.
If necessary, homeowners should freshly seal windows, cracks, entry doors and garage doors. Wind funneling through a house pushes upward, trying to lift its roof. For double doors, French doors and sliding patio doors that have no structural device between them, homeowners should consider installing special hardware to secure the doors where they meet. Try bolts that fasten the door into the framing at the top and the bottom.
Preparing a home for the change in seasons is crucial for the long-term enjoyment and use of a home. A small crack in the seal of a window or a single broken roof tile can lead to much more significant damage in a bad weather event. Take the weekend, inspect your home and make it ready for the weather ahead.
The Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of homeownership. For more information, visit www.biabuild.com on the web.