Before the Event
Before an emergency weather event, such as a hurricane, take photographs of your yard and home. Remove or secure all non-secured outdoor items that may become airborne projectiles during high winds.
Buildings or Sheds
Outdoor structures, such as sheds, should be installed according to code. If they are not, and time permits, remove the structure.
Lawn Furniture and Ornaments
Remove all patio furniture from your yard or terrace, and store it in your garage, house or apartment. Remove potted plants, lawn ornaments and sculptures and store them indoors. These items could damage your home if picked up by the wind.
Patio screens may pop out in high winds.
- Before a storm, make sure the diagonal framing of the screen is strong and the bolts in the patio are secure.
- Make sure the screen frame is anchored into concrete footing, not just dirt.
- Make sure restraining cables are tight and in good condition. Make sure bottom fasteners or bolts have not rusted away.
- Remove anything from around the screen that may puncture it.
Satellite dishes should be installed according to code. If possible, remove and secure indoors. Otherwise, to secure for a storm:
- If movable, lower to base setting.
- Turn dish away from the wind.
- When installing solar panels, ensure the overall strength of the roof system is reviewed, prior to the installation.
- When solar panels are properly mounted on a roof (connected to the structural frames beneath), they become a part of a home’s structural system. It is not necessary to remove them prior to a storm if they have been installed properly.
- If utility power fails, your solar panel inverter will not produce power and your system will automatically shut down. For added safety you may shut the system off manually by turning off the main photovoltaic disconnect switch. This switch should be near the utility meter.
- If your solar system was installed in the last few years, it was installed per the Florida Building Code (High Velocity Hurricane Zone), which provides for secure attachment to the roof structure with design wind speed typically at 170 mph for residential homes.
Winds of over 100 miles per hour will pull turbines off; leaving a hole that allows rain and wind to enter into the attic. Before hurricane season, buy metal caps for your roof turbines, as the caps may not always be available in stores during hurricane season. When a storm threatens the area, remove the turbines and place the cap over the exposed hole in the roof.
To make a temporary cap:
- Check to see if the turbine is connected with screws to the duct that comes up from the roof. In most cases, you can just lift the turbine off the duct. If not, remove the screws and lift the turbine off the duct. Measure the inside diameter of the duct.
- Use a jig saw to make a cover. Cut a somewhat round disk of ½" thick plywood a little larger than the size of the duct. To do this, place the bottom of the turbine on a piece of plywood and draw a circle around the outside of the turbine neck. Cut the disk about ¼" larger all the way around.
- Find the center of the disk, measure, and then mark points ½ the diameter of the duct from the middle of the disk. Attach a series of 1-1/2" thick blocks around the perimeter of the disk so that their outside edges are just touching the points measured ½ the diameter of the duct from the center of the disk. (As an alternate you could cut out a disk of 1-1/2" thick boards a little smaller than the diameter of the inside of the duct and attach it to the plywood disk.)
- Slide the side of the disk with the 1-1/2" thick material into the open hole in the duct. The larger plywood disk will keep the cover from falling through the hole.
- Install screws through the walls of the turbine duct and into the blocks or disk of 1-1/2" thick material to hold the cover in place.
- Use duct tape to seal the plywood disk to the turbine duct.
- Don't forget to remove the cover and re-install the turbine after the storm or threat of the storm has passed.
Updated October 2013