Best Ways to Prepare Your Home for Climate Change

Climate Change

Last updated on March 28th, 2024 at 12:21 am

The last few years have experienced an increase in severe weather, mostly due to climate change. In fact, recent reports show that about 8.1 million Americans are likely to experience excessive temperatures of up to 125 Fahrenheit by 2023. Hurricanes and other weather events are expected to be more severe in the near future because of climate change. This could leave your home vulnerable to potential damage from severe storms, flooding, and other extreme weather events related to climate change.

However, there are things that you can do to prepare your home for climate change. One of them is updating your home to withstand harsh weather conditions like extreme heat and hurricanes. Another great way to protect your home from severe weather is by purchasing homeowners insurance. For instance, you can buy flood insurance as part of your home insurance policy even if you live outside a flood-prone area. Alongside purchasing insurance, here are some other great ways to prepare your home for climate change:

1. Wildfire Defense

Wildfires are often the most challenging weather events to mitigate, since the materials and vegetation around your home may increase their spread. Extreme heat can make your yard’s vegetation excessively dry, creating ideal conditions for wildfires. However, you can reduce the risk of nearby fires spreading into your home by reducing the amount of flammable materials and vegetation around your house. Instead, consider using non-combustible materials and landscaping with firewise plants to prevent wildfires from reaching your home.

In addition, you can apply a fire-resistant coating to your home’s exterior materials or replace them entirely with non-flammable ones like stones or aluminum to fireproof your home. You can also install wire mesh to your home’s vents to seal the openings and prevent your house from catching fire. If you choose this option, you’ll also need to install an air purifier to filter out soot and smoke in the event of a nearby wildfire.

2. Flood–Proof your Home

While flooding events have been known to occur in flood-prone areas like coastal areas, nearly every place is at risk of flooding as climate change causes more intense hurricanes, rising sea levels, and increased rainfall. The first step to preparing for flooding is understanding your flood risk and physically protecting your home.

Flood mitigation measures can range from minor, temporary fixes to more permanent home redesigns. Some quick ways to keep water out include placing water barrier socks around your home or watertight plastic barriers on your ground-floor windows and doors. More permanent solutions include incorporating basement sump pumps in low-lying parts of your home to eliminate floodwater.

Raising your heating and cooling systems and plumbing above ground level can also help mitigate water damage. Another effective yet expensive way is propping your home or adding a new foundation to raise it above flood levels. You’ll also want to install a standby generator to keep your sump pump and other essential appliances running in case of a power outage during a storm. This can help ensure you have lighting in your home at all times and minimize your risk of flood damage since you’ll be able to pump flood waters out.

3. Hurricane-Proof Your Home

Extreme hurricanes and windstorms can cause devastating damage to your home. Debris and trees flying in the air during severe storms and hurricanes can break your home’s windows and doors and rip off the roof. This allows rainwater to get inside, causing more damage to your stuff. You should strengthen your home and make it impact-resistant, even if you live outside a hurricane-prone area. This can minimize damage from extreme windstorms and hurricanes.

You can protect against extreme windstorms by ensuring your home’s walls are stable enough and the roof is securely attached to the walls to ensure everything will stay intact during a hurricane. If you have a gabled roof, consider adding truss bracing to boost its stability. You can also install a new roof specially designed to withstand high impact and pressure. Replacing your windows and doors with impact-resistant ones or adding protection can help prevent them from getting blown open by high winds and impact by flying debris.

Be sure to cut down dried tree branches above your house to prevent them from falling and causing damage during a hurricane. Get rid of any objects around your property that could become projectiles in extreme windstorms.

4. Make your home resilient to heat

Apart from hurricane-proofing your home, you also need to mitigate excessive heat often caused by climate change. Excessive heat can cause damage to your property’s exterior structure. For instance, it could lead to chipped paint, cracked wood sidings, and damaged roofs. It can also affect you and your family by causing heat illness.

It’s crucial that you prepare your home for climate change by making it more resilient to extreme heat. You can ensure your home is well-protected against extreme heat by installing the most efficient insulation, like adding spray-foam insulation to the walls. Adding extra window panes can help provide much-needed protection than single-paned ones. Putting sun-blocking film on the windows’ exterior can also help keep your home cool.

Additionally, replace your vinyl siding with stucco siding and choose a lighter color that absorbs and retains less heat to increase your home’s resilience to extreme heat. Certain roofing materials can also help keep your home comfortable when temperatures increase. An excellent option includes cool-colored tiles with higher solar reflectance that can help keep your roof cooler. A white roof coating can also help keep temperatures down while protecting against water and chemical damage.

Upgrading to a smart thermostat can help regulate your home’s indoor temperatures and save on energy bills, no matter the HVAC system you use. That’s because a smart thermostat will automatically adjust temperature levels and only operate when required, making your home’s heating and cooling more efficient.

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Preparing your home before disaster hits can mitigate damages to your home and reduce the time and costs required to recover from severe weather events. Following the above tips can help you make your home more climate-resilient and mitigate the damages caused by increasingly extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change.

Apart from anticipating harsh weather conditions, you should make proactive improvements to your home to protect against damage in the future. You can also take advantage of homeowners insurance coverage to reduce your risk of climate-related damages.

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