Preparation is the key to alleviating your hurricane anxiety. Hurricane season comes every year and we all have preparations that we can make so we are not caught off guard in the event of a storm. Everyone knows to stock up on water, canned food and batteries but I want to address a few questions that we get during the building process and after.
Impact Resistant Glass VS Hurricane Shutters
Hurricane/Impact resistant windows are the obvious choice for most of your home. With impact windows, there is nothing to store or put up during a storm and your house is always protected from Mother Nature as well as intruders that would break a window to gain access. Plus, I am sure that your neighbors will appreciate that your house does not resemble a tin can when you are away for extended periods of time!
However, how many of us have had to cram all our outdoor furniture into our homes before we leave for the summer?
It is inconvenient, messy and difficult and this is where the shutters pay off.
Cost and Advantages Important Protection in Hurricane Zones
There are 2 main types of hurricane shutters:
Roll Down Shutters
Roll down shutters are deployed either manually or by remote control. They are rated for hurricane protection. You can see through the mesh of roll down shutters eliminating that dark confined feeling of traditional shutters or plywood. However, these shutters are limited by the size of the opening they cover. Many of the homes that we build have expansive openings allowing for a better view and unfortunately this makes it impossible to use roll downs because there is nowhere the shutter can attach.
Accordion shutters stack on both sides of your pool deck and run along a track that you can easily close. The biggest advantage is that they will keep everything behind them protected and you will not need to bring anything inside your home. They can be used on larger openings. This is especially nice if you live elsewhere for part of the year or happen to be gone when a storm is coming. No panicked calls to neighbors asking them to bring all of your outdoor furniture inside!
For more information on all varieties of hurricane protection visit https://www.activedoorandwindow.com/hurricane-protection
Check your policy and make sure that it is in force during hurricane season. NFIP will not write policies when there is a named storm “in the box”. You will not be able to get a policy if you wait until you know a storm is coming our way. Binding an insurance policy is not possible when a storm crosses a certain threshold and that binding authority is suspended for the whole state. Ask your agent exactly what flood insurance covers and more importantly what your homeowner’s insurance will not cover in the event of a hurricane. The regulations governing flood zones are changing – make sure that your insurance agent is up to date on the new maps and how this affects your area.
Do you need a whole house generator? Well that is a question that only you can answer but here are some Florida specific things to think about:
We do not have blizzards! Ice and snow will not regularly knock out your power and you will definitely not freeze to death! Power will usually only go out for short periods of time so generators will not be necessary.
A whole house generator could accidentally supply a dangerous surge of electricity because it will kick on automatically when the power goes out. This is a potentially dangerous situation if there is water present or damage to your power lines.
Whole house/Stand By generators are very expensive! Portable generators can be used for tailgating, RV’s, camping, as well as powering essential appliances after a storm. They usually range in price from $500 to $1500 depending on your power needs. Whole house generators usually start at $5000 and go up from there. They are affixed to the house so they are not useful for any other purpose.
Keep in mind that the damaging wind and rain of hurricanes is normally confined to a geographically small path centered on the eye. The rest of the hurricane is much less powerful. If our area is impacted again by a powerful hurricane like Charley you can take some solace in the fact that neighboring counties will have power, hotels, laundromats, grocery stores and gas stations. After Charley, Sean and I were lucky that our home had barely any damage – a torn screen and a couple of ridge cap missing- but we did lose power for 2 weeks. We had a brutal heat wave that year and Sean was out helping my mother repair her roof, helping neighbors put up tarp and taking care of our job sites and we survived by cooking on our grill and sleeping under the fan at night. After a week or so we realized that Cape Coral and most of Fort Myers were virtually unscathed and we could go to the movies, do laundry and even go to restaurants only 20 minutes to the south! It was such a welcome relief and helped us stay sane for the remaining few days before our power was restored!
Finally, be prepared and do not become complacent. Modern technology gives us time to prepare so let’s use that time wisely!
All the best,