Four walls and a roof may protect you from pests and the elements for a while but, eventually, mother nature will come knocking. Whether it’s mice, golfball-sized hail or termites, nature can severely damage your home and cost your thousands of dollars in repairs.
At some point or another, you’ll likely come face to face with these natural nuisances. However, there are things you can do to both defend and restore your home when nature strikes.
Each year, termites cause more than $5 billion in damage to U.S. properties, making them the most destructive household pests. Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the cost of termite damage, so residents must pay out of pocket to exterminate them and make repairs.
Reduce termite damage by keeping an eye out for mud tubes around the foundation of your home, tiny piles of droppings around baseboards and obvious signs like holes and deteriorating wood.
These tiny flying creatures may seem harmless, but moths can do some major damage to fabrics including carpets, rugs and furniture. Within a few weeks, they can chew through fibers, leaving holes and fraying corners in their wake.
If you notice these telltale warning signs of a moth infestation, place mothballs in your drawers or hang dried lavender around your home to discourage them from gnawing on your home.
Tiny mammals like mice and rats also love to feast on household items. In addition to rugs, furniture and food, they also chew through wires and the insulation in your walls, causing obvious problems for homeowners. They’re also hard to get rid of because they can squeeze through the smallest holes and breed fairly quickly.
Close up holes and openings with steel wool to prevent them from entering and set traps around your home to catch rodents that have already entered. If the problem persists, you may want to consider adopting a cat.
A little rain probably won’t cause any damage. A torrential downpour, on the other hand, can certainly wreak havoc on your home. If there are any gaps in your roof or the gutters are full of leaves and debris, rain can pool on the roof and seep into your home. Overflowing gutters can also cause water to pool around your home and damage the foundation.
Luckily, rain damage is easily avoidable. Before a storm, ensure your gutters are clean and drain away from your home. You should also hire an inspector to examine your roof once or twice a year to prevent leaks, cracks and water damage.
Of course, freezing rain — or hail — can also take a major toll on your home. Although most hailstones have smooth edges, they can reach the size of a softball, pummeling roofs, gutters, windows, exterior light fixtures and shutters. With hail this big, one storm can be enough to cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.
While you can’t predict the weather, you can better prepare yourself for impromptu hail storms. One of the best ways to do so is to, once again, hire an inspector to look at your roof. You might also close your shutters, remove downspout extensions and cover patio furniture.
Lightning storms have the potential to damage your home, too. Fire is obviously the most serious threat to your property as lighting can ignite wood and other flammable materials. However, lightning-induced power surges and shock waves can also destroy appliances and pipelines and completely rock concrete, brick and stone foundations.
To prevent lightning damage, you may consider installing a protection system that redirects electricity away from your home and back into the ground. You should also ensure all lightning rods work properly and unplug all appliances before storms arrive.
As if rain, hail and lightning weren’t enough to worry about, winds can also be destructive, especially when they exceed 50 miles per hour. Of course, when people think of wind damage, they usually picture tornadoes. However, strong gusts of wind can be destructive as well. In addition to falling trees, poles and power lines, your home must also stand up to winds pulling at the roof, gutters, siding, shutters and more.
Before the wind picks up, examine the perimeter of your home and bring lighter items like furniture and wood inside. Cover doors and windows with aluminum or steel storm shutters to prevent the glass from shattering and hire a contractor to come and secure your roof.
These natural nuisances are, well, natural. Case in point, they can damage your home when you least expect it, so it’s always best to anticipate problems before they occur and prepare in advance. Understand the potential risks of your geographical location and adopt a proactive approach to defend your home. When pests arrive and storms blow in, you’ll thank yourself for protecting your property when you had the chance.