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Super Handyman: Protect home from weather damage

We’ve certainly seen some severe storm damage around our country this spring. You can’t fool Mother Nature, but you can do a lot of things to protect your property from some of the damage.

One thing we see a lot of are downed trees. You can minimize this type of damage on your own property by just pruning them back when they get dangerously close to power lines, your roof or your windows. If you can’t tackle the job yourself, don’t feel bad. It’s a big job in some cases, and may require a pro just to get it done correctly and safely.

Have your roof inspected once a year. You could have problems or damage and not see it. An annual inspection can reveal problem areas that you can address before leaks happen.

When it rains, even a little bit, look for drainage issues. If you can correct these ahead of a big rain or flood, you might save your home.

Keep your yard picked up. Anything in your yard can be blown around and cause damage, so keep items tied down, or carry them into a more secure area before big storms.

Windows are huge targets and are hard to reinforce. 3M makes a Safety and Security Window Film that will keep the window intact after breakage. Storm shutters also are something you can add. In some areas where storms are very common, this might be a practical solution.

Some disasters can’t be avoided, but many can be diminished with a little prep work on sunny days. Have a safe summer!


Q: We are getting ready to replace our water heater and are very confused about what size to get. We’ve been told we could get two and put them in a series rather than getting just one. What would you suggest? Is there some formula to use to determine your needs? – H.J.

A: You can try to estimate your needs by determining the highest usage in a single hour. A 10-minute shower uses about 30 gallons, the dishwasher uses about 15 and your washing machine will use about 25 gallons. If you have several people in your family getting ready for work or school at the same time, you don’t want to run out of hot water. Another option, if your budget allows, is an “on demand,” or tankless, water heater.


Q: The gutters on our house are white. They came that way, and until we painted the house trim, they looked fine. But now I want to paint them to match the trim color, which is gray. What kind of paint should I use? – H.R.

A: Clean off any rust spots and make repairs if you have leaks. Add additional hangers if you have any sagging spots. Coat all bare metal spots with a zinc-based metal primer. Then, just use a good quality exterior paint, made for metal, that offers UV protection to give your gutters the look you are going for. It should last as long as your regular house paint will, maybe longer.


The GLOWr Wayfinding Illumination Discs are an easy-to-install marking system that shows you where things like steps, walls, driveways and other obstacles are in the dark. The discs come packaged with a simple mounting system, so they can be placed on wood, concrete or even the ground. They only need eight minutes of daylight to charge, but the glow will last for 48 hours. No batteries are required and they are made in North America. If you are looking for a “green” product, this is a super choice. In fact, it was selected as “Best in Category” at this year’s Housewares Design Awards Show. Check them out at They are available at several discount stores including Bed, Bath and Beyond, Ace Hardware, True Value and many more.

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to the Super Handyman via Those of general interest will be used in future columns.