Disaster-proof Your Home from Summer’s Worst Weather Emergencies


Does it seem like every time you read the news there’s another report about severe weather? From strong winds and flooding to heat waves and wildfires, summer weather brings challenges that can cause big problems for your home.

We’ve pulled together a list of steps you can take to protect your family and safeguard your home from weather-related emergencies this summer.

  • Prevent Water Damage. Gutters and downspouts move water off your roof and away from your home—but if they’re clogged, rainwater can back up and pool on your roof or overflow and saturate the ground around your home, leading to major leaks and water damage. Sure, it’s the last job anyone wants to do on a beautiful summer’s day, but hauling out the ladder and cleaning debris from gutters can help prevent some pretty major damage. Read this article for step-by-step instructions for cleaning gutters, then add gutter guards and downspout screens to keep them clean. And don't stop with the gutters: you need to keep rainwater moving away from your home’s foundation to prevent flooding. Make sure the soil around your home is properly graded, maintain landscaping to encourage better drainage, and add downspout extenders to keep rainwater runoff moving away from your home and towards another part of your property.

If you have a sump pump, do a quick test to make sure your sump pump is working correctly by unplugging the pump and plugging it in again. If the pump doesn’t turn on immediately, it’s time for a new unit. You may also want to add a battery-powered backup pump in case the power goes out during a storm and your primary sump pump can’t function.

Small cracks in the foundation give water a way into your basement or crawl space. Fix them by filling cracks with Mortite Caulking Cord and then sealing with a caulk made for use with concrete.  If cracks are wider than ½”, it’s time to call in a professional for a thorough inspection and repair job.

  • Trim Overhanging Branches. It’s not just water that you need to worry about during summer storms. High winds can rip large limbs off trees, and if one of those limbs or branches falls on your home it can cause severe damage. Cut back any limbs that hang over your roof. You may also want to have an arborist come out to check that any large trees near your home are healthy and don’t pose a danger to your home. Many cities employ an arborist who will do an evaluation free of cost—contact your city government to see if your town offers this service.

  • Prepare for Heat Waves and Power Outages. Summer storms, heat waves, and increased energy demands increase the likelihood of power outages. If you lose power, turn off or unplug appliances and electronics to avoid them being damaged by a power surge when the power comes back on. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed; it’s safe to eat refrigerated food up to 4 hours after the power goes out, while frozen food is safe for 24-48 hours. If the power is out longer, store food in a cooler with ice.

Pack a home emergency kit so you’re ready for outages; your kit should include flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, water, and a battery-powered radio.

If your area is prone to frequent outages, you may want to invest in a backup generator to keep refrigerators, freezers, and fans running. Read this article for tips on how to keep your home feeling cooler even if the AC isn’t working.

  • Be Ready for Fires. While you can’t stop a wildfire from damaging your home, according to FEMA there are some low-cost steps you can take to minimize damage to your property.

  • Create “defensible space”—a buffer zone around your home that’s designed to reduce fire danger. Ideally, this area will extend at least 30 feet from your home and will be free of flammable vegetation and debris like dead leaves and branches. You should also keep grass short and well watered.

  • Regularly clean branches and debris from your roof.

  • To keep embers out, seal gaps around utility connections that go through the roof and exterior walls with caulk or weatherstripping and cover exterior attic vents and under-eave vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch.

  • Repair or replace any damaged window screens, and replace any broken window glass.

  • Check fire extinguishers to make sure the pressure gauge indicates it’s full.

  • Stop Mold Before it Starts. Summer humidity creates ideal conditions for mold, especially in damp areas like basements and bathrooms. To get ahead of mold growth, run a dehumidifier and make sure rooms are properly ventilated by opening windows and running fans. If you find a leak, fix it promptly and dry out any water-damaged areas within 24-48 hours.

Review your home insurance. If something terrible does happen, your home insurance is there to help. Once a year, review your home insurance to make sure it covers the replacement value of your property.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only. Homeowners should always consider safety precautions before starting any home improvement project.  While we strive to offer accurate and helpful advice, Frost King does not assume responsibility for any actions taken based on the information provided or for any consequences resulting therefrom.