How severe weather research can save you money

NOW: How severe weather research can save you money

Here in Michiana severe weather typically picks up during the spring and summer months, but what is being done year round to help protect your home when the severe weather strikes?

Meteorologists and Engineers work together year round to come up with stronger building materials, test those materials, and find cost effective ways for you as the home owner to implement them. I talked with the Lead Research Meteorologist from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, Dr. Ian Giammanco about the research they have been conducting recently to help all homeowners. 

Before diving into the tips for homeowners, it's important to know about the research that takes place. At the Insurance Institute they have a large test building equipped with 105 fans that can simulate tornado wind speeds. Also in this building, there are cannons that launch different sized hail at test cars and homes. These tests help to show how different materials hold up against the extremes mother nature can produce. 

Now how can you, the homeowner, benefit from this research? The staff at the Insurance Institute has developed a list ranging from low cost to more pricey, of things you can do to help better prepare your home for severe weather. 

Here's a list starting with the cheapest to the more expensive options that you can do for that home preparation.

  1. Trim Your Trees. Trees in your yard could pose a threat to your home during high winds. Have trees around your home trimmed by an arborist. Remove branches that overhang the house and remove dead, dying, or diseased trees.
  2. Get a Home Lightning Surge Protector. Install a home lightning surge protector to keep electrical equipment safe from power surges that can damage expensive electronics.
  3. Install Protective Screens on HVAC Units. Screens can prevent costly hail damage. In hail-prone regions, install screens around your home’s air conditioning unit to help reduce the chance of hail damage to coils and fins.
  4. Select a Wind-Rated Garage Door. Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable parts of the home in high winds. High winds can push a garage door inward, allowing pressure to push up on the roof and surrounding walls causing a cascade of structural damage to your entire home. Wind-rated garage doors have been tested to withstand these pressures and can help protect your home. If you’re not sure whether your garage door is wind-rated, it’s best to purchase a new one labeled showing it is designed to withstand the winds likely in your area.
  5. Upgrade to Steel Gutters & Downspouts. Steel is stronger than its more popular counterparts, vinyl and aluminum. In hail-prone regions, upgrade to steel products, which are more durable against hail impacts and less likely to leak.
  6. Replace Your Shingles. Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against severe weather. Shingles add more than just architectural detail; they are critical to protecting your home against hail. Consider shingles rated Good or Excellent by IBHS. See IBHS shingle performance ratings. If you need a new roof due to age or damage, ask your roofing contractor to follow the FORTIFIED standard, which is an installation method shown in tests to protect against wind damage and water intrusion.
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