Severe weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes can cause catastrophic damage to your home. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may not be able to move back in right away. You might also need a professional inspection to determine if your home is safe for habitation.
If you have had a severe storm in your area, here is a list of things to check after it passes.
The Electrical System
The electrical system is probably the most critical part of your home to check after a storm. Flooding, fire, and wire damage are all potential risks. If your home floods, there is a risk of electrical shock and electrocution. Be extremely careful when wading through water.
Never touch electrical equipment if immersed in water, even if the power is off. If you have any doubts, have a professional look at it. The same goes for outlets and switches in wet areas, such as bathrooms and basements.
If your walls are wet, turn off the main electrical breaker to your home. If using any electrical appliances causes the circuit breaker to trip, call an electrician to inspect and advise on possible solutions (source: https://jenningsheating.com/kent/electrician/).
If any electrical wiring is exposed, turn off the main breaker and call an electrician. Exposed wiring can lead to shock and fire.
Check Appliances For Damage
If you smell a strange odor or hear unusual sounds from an appliance, unplug it immediately. If submerged or otherwise damaged, call a professional to inspect it before use.
If appliances need cleaning after flooding, use fresh water. Better still, let a professional clean them. They’ll also advise whether it’s safe to use them or wait for repair and maintenance services first.
The Roof & Water Damage
Inspect the entire roof for damage after a storm. If shingles are missing or damaged, have a professional inspect and fix the issues. Clear clogged gutters and check for breakages or damage.
Leaks in the roof can damage insulation and drywall, causing mold and rot. Check for mold and mildew in the basement, around your home’s foundation, and in rooms that tend to be damp.
Remove All Standing Water From Your Home
Standing water is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and other microorganisms. It can also damage your home. Drain stagnant water from pipes, the roof, appliances, and the yard. Have a professional check your home’s insulation and structural components for damage from dampness. You might also want to consider installing a sump pump.
The Plumbing System
Flooding and strong winds can damage your home’s plumbing system. Inspect all plumbing fixtures for dirt or signs of rust, corrosion, or discoloration. Check if there are any dripping faucets, dirty water, or a rotten egg smell coming from the drains.
Call a professional if you are in doubt about the safety of any plumbing components. Also, empty and scrub your toilet bowl and tank, and check whether they’re clogged or broken. Examine bathtubs and showers for discoloration or odd smells.
If a sewage backup occurs, call a professional right away. The problem can lead to serious health issues. If a puddle or pungent sewage odor is present but there is no backup, disinfect the area by scrubbing it with mild soap and plenty of clean water.
Check The Foundation
Foundation damage can include buckling, cracks or uneven floors. Start by looking for wet areas or discoloration near entry points, indicating water has seeped into the structure. You can also check for cracks in the walls, doors, and windows that do not close properly. These can indicate shifting or foundation damage that you need to get checked out by a professional right away. The issues usually occur after severe flooding.
Other Potential Dangers
Tornadoes and hurricanes can knock down trees, causing them to fall on the roof or into the yard. Remove all damaged or fallen trees before resuming regular activity in your home. Also, take pictures of any damage so you can document it and work with an insurance agency for compensation. Always have the entire property inspected by a professional after a severe storm.