Save Your Home from a Texas-Sized Disaster

Maybe it’s time to invest in some upgrades to our homes.

Home renovation has been a bright spot in the U.S. economy during the pandemic, with homeowners splashing out on home offices, new patios, even family theaters — and sending lumber prices soaring. But with more extreme weather on the way, more homeowners should be thinking about the home improvements you don’t see: insulation and power generation.

If you’re willing to do a wholesale renovation,  tons of stuff can be done to improve a home’s energy efficiency. But most of us aren’t eager to start tearing down walls. So I called our old neighbor and asked him how he’d upgrade a house for extreme weather without making too much of a mess in the process.

Robillard says the easiest place to start is at the top: Insulate your attic. Homeowners tend to focus on walls and windows, but most heat is lost through the roof, because heat rises (duh). “This is definitely where you’ll get the most bang for your buck,” he says.

And before  insulating the attic, check for air leaks. If there are holes drilled in the wall for power lines, or leaks around the chimney, seal those first, then insulate. Hire a professional or rent an infrared imaging camera from the local big box hardware store for about $50; on a cold day, the air leaks should be immediately obvious.

In addition to saving on heating and cooling costs, these modest insulation improvements can often net tax savings, rebates or other government-subsidized savings.

read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-02-20/protect-your-house-from-a-texas-size-disaster

Need to replace your roof? Consider a Cool Roof

A cool roof is one that has been designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Nearly any type of building can benefit from a cool roof, but consider the climate and other factors before deciding to install one.

A cool roof can benefit a building and its occupants by:

  • Reducing energy bills by decreasing air conditioning needs
  • Improving indoor comfort for spaces that are not air conditioned, such as garages or covered patios
  • Decreasing roof temperature, which may extend roof service life.

Beyond the building itself, cool roofs can also benefit the environment, especially when many buildings in a community have them. Cool roofs can:

  • Reduce local air temperatures (sometimes referred to as the urban heat island effect)
  • Lower peak electricity demand, which can help prevent power outages
  • Reduce power plant emissions, including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and mercury, by reducing cooling energy use in buildings.

There are many types of roof systems available, but the surface exposed to the sun is the one that determines if a roof is cool or not. You can usually make a new or existing roof cool by selecting the appropriate surface.

Cool roof coatings are white or special reflective pigments that reflect sunlight. Coatings are like very thick paints that can protect the roof surface from ultra-violet (UV) light and chemical damage, and some offer water protection and restorative features. Products are available for most roof types.

read more at: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/design/energy-efficient-home-design/cool-roofs

10 Things to do if a wildfire is approaching your house

A wildfire is burning out of control, and your house is in its path. What do you do?

Most importantly, if you have been ordered to evacuate by authorities, get out immediately. Leave with your family, pets, important papers and whatever portable prized possessions you can quickly pack. Lingering could be fatal.

If no evacuation has been ordered, but you anticipate that one could be in the near future, here are 10 things you can do to make your home safer, according to Cal Fire, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Weather Underground and DisasterSafety.org.

1. Call 911 to inform authorities of your location and the location of the fire.

2. Shut off your house’s gas supply. Move propane tanks at least 100 feet away from the house.

3. Fill sinks and tubs with cold water.

4. Keep doors and windows closed but not locked. Leave the chimney damper open, but cover the fireplace opening with a screen.

5. Turn off air-conditioning. Unplug televisions, small appliances and other electronics, but leave lights on in every room to increase visibility in heavy smoke.

read more at: https://www.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/10-things-to-do-if-a-wildfire-is-approaching-your-15511007.php