Summer storm season is upon us, are you prepared? Danny Lipford is a renowned home improvement expert, TV host, and as someone who has faced extreme weather, he’s an expert when it comes prepping your home, your vehicle and your family on storm season. Danny was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to discuss just how you can prepare your home and your vehicle for an impending storm, simple mistakes you need to avoid around the house, the power of a positive attitude and the top generator you need in your home this storm season and beyond.
Candace Rose: With storm season upon us, how can homeowners prepare? What’s the first step they must take?
Danny Lipford: “Well, I’ll tell you what – one of the best things you can do initially before the storms are anywhere around you is to check with your insurance company and make sure you have the coverage that you need. Check those deductibles, those levels are getting awfully high these days, so you want to make sure you’re aware of exactly what you have.
This is also a great time to have a nice calm family meeting and just discuss with your family what needs to be done in the case of severe weather. Exchange all of the emergency phone numbers, make sure everybody has those in case anything is ever needed there. It’s also a good time to make an emergency supply list – things that you need to buy to have in the home so that you’re ready for that extreme weather. That’s made very easy with the checklist we have online at Todayshomeowner.com.
Also, if you’re one of the millions of people out there that bought a whole house generator or standby generator, now is the time to tune it up and make sure it’s ready in case you lose power. If you don’t have one, you might want to consider that because they’re a lot more reasonable, they cost a lot less than they used to and they are a lot smaller. This one from Generac (please see video above for details) can furnish all of the power needs for a 2,000 square foot home or more depending on the electrical appliances that you have in the house. You can also install an automatic transfer switch, whether you have an existing home or a new home, which will automatically turn the generator on in the event of a power outage within just a few seconds and turn it back off after it’s restored. These are available with natural gas or propane – very easy to have that comfort level. I’ll tell you what, another thing they even have a device called a mobile link, and mobile link will allow you to monitor your generator and it will tell you exactly when it needs to be serviced and that type of thing through your smartphone. It’s a great way to have that comfort level for your home, and especially nice if you have a second home and you’re worried about whether or not the power goes off there. It can take care of it and tell you exactly when the power goes off and comes back on.”
Candace Rose: What should you do if you’ve been made aware that you’re in the path of an oncoming storm?
Danny Lipford: “First of all, jump in the car and fill it up with gas because the gas lines will get so long, it’s ridiculous. In case you have to evacuate, your car will be full and ready to go.
Also, you need to look around your yard, look for anything like tables or chairs or kids toys or garbage cans – get those things inside the house or inside the garage. Also, if you have the opportunity and you’re looking at some extreme weather, it’s a very good thing to cover up all of your windows and doors. You can use plywood, that’s one of the most common ways of covering things up. Another way is you can use the PVC that is available now – the corrugated PVC panels that you can actually get some sunlight through it. Another way is fabric. There’s fabric out there that you can cover your windows to provide you that protection that’s made out of the same material that bulletproof vests are made out of, so that’s another way to kind of tighten things up so that you’re ready for that storm when it hits.”
Candace Rose: What should you do if you are hit by a storm?
Danny Lipford: “The aftermath can be pretty traumatic. You have to think about it and if you have all of these plans put together it’s going to be a little easier to deal with. First of all there’s a lot of damage out there that you have to think about and you need to document that damage with photos and videos and call the insurance company and be pretty persistent. You’ll need to call them, you’ll need to tell them exactly how they can get in touch with you by email, by cellphone, by even the neighbors phone – try to make it easy for them to get back in touch with you. Try to minimize any of the damage that you may have with any type of a tarp or plastic, rope everything together, duct tape everything together – do everything you can to keep the damage from getting any worse.
Also, so many people over the last few years, if they didn’t buy a standby generator, they bought a portable generator which is really a great way to provide some of that essential power to your house, maybe your refrigerator, maybe a few lights, a fan…that type of thing. Our friends at Generac have a few safety tips for you including never use a portable generator inside a garage or inside the house. You want to make sure it’s outside with plenty of ventilation to keep the carbon monoxide from becoming a problem. That means never have a door or window open that the carbon monoxide can get in.
Also, you want to invite the neighbors over to plug their cords in? You’ll want to be careful not to overload a portable generator because they’re not designed to power an entire house or a heavy electrical load.
Also, when you’re refueling it (it’ll last a long time with the gas tank that’s on it) turn it off, let it cool down a little bit before you add the extra fuel that will ensure that you have safe operation on it.”
Candace Rose: You’ve been through a lot of extreme weather, Danny – do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Danny Lipford: “Well, Candace, I’ll tell you one thing that I really believe in and that is a positive attitude. It’s so overwhelming after a storm but you have to realize things are going to get better. What you’re looking at after a storm can just overwhelm you, but just push past that and know that you’re going to have a better looking house, your environment’s going to be better and the neighbors will stick together and you’ll have that sense of community that’s really, really cool in America. You’ll be able to put everything back together and things will move along quite nicely, so you just have to be patient and you have to be positive.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much, Danny. Where can we go for more information?
Danny Lipford: “I’d love for you to drop by our website at TodaysHomeowner.com. We just updated a brand new severe weather page so that you can see all the checklists and see all the things that you need to do so that you can be safe at your home with your family.”