Ask the Expert: How Can I Help Clients Protect Their Home from Natural Disasters?

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Today’s “Ask the Expert” column features Dan Steward, President of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors.

Q: As natural disasters continue to become a common occurrence, what advice can I pass on to my clients to help them protect their homes and families during rough weather?

A: If you think climate change isn’t real, look out your window. With the number of significant natural disasters that have occurred in the past year alone, it’s time to step-up and share with clients some of the possible ways they can protect their homes and properties from natural disasters.

At Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, we’re telling our REALTOR® clients that natural disasters and frequent water damage are putting more than the usual negative wear and tear on homes. This is one of the reasons we see the need for a home inspection at least every five to 10 years. Homeowners should have a home inspection this often to make sure all is well and ensure there are no major weaknesses in the home that will make them vulnerable should a natural disaster occur.

Here are some items of interest and tips to share with your clients:

  • According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the global average temperature increased by more than 1.4°F over the last century. The results are showing all around the planet, and homes are affected, too. The No. 1 damage culprit is water resulting from heavy rains and flooding, which can then bring on dangerous molds.
  • Water damage is not the only cause for indoor mold growth. High humidity levels from the environment in a closed-up vacation home (or any home for that matter) can lead to musty odors and possible mold growth. Reducing humidity levels through the use of air conditioning during humid months is one option, but be sure the AC’s drain lines are not clogged.
  • Assess your home’s vulnerability to natural calamities. Know whether the location of your home is prone to tornadoes, floods or landslides, and have an evacuation plan ready for you and your family (pets included). Safe areas such as basements, bathrooms and hallways can be used for refuge should winds become strong.
  • A basic emergency supply kit should include the following items: water, non-perishable food, flashlights, generators, battery-powered equipment such as cellphones and a portable radio, a first aid kit and essential medications.
  • Make sure you or your landlord have taken all the necessary steps to store away or keep away any possible hazardous items or debris. This includes trimming trees and shrubbery so branches don’t fly into your home and clearing clogged rain gutters and downspouts. In addition, have patio or deck furniture anchored properly if there are storm warnings in your area. Remember, anything can become a flying and possibly deadly hazard during extreme weather conditions.

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