Summer is here, and in Florida, that means hot weather and hurricane prep! It is important for homeowners and home renters to adequately prepare their home for hurricane season. By doing so, you can take steps to protect your home against damage, and by starting now, you won’t be making last minute runs to home repair stores for supplies that are running low.

Here are some easy, and often forgotten wats to protect your home this hurricane season that are also relatively affordable.

  1. Make sure everything is plugged into a surge protector, not directly into the wall.

Any storm, not just hurricanes, can cause a power surge. If your home is hit by a power surge and has electronics or appliances plugged directly into a wall outlet, you risk them becoming damage or destroyed from the electric surge. Surge protectors can be installed directly into your electric panel to help protect the whole house or individual power strips with built in surge protectors can be used in individual rooms with a large amount of high risk items—like the living room where the television, sound system, gaming console, and other electronics may be plugged in. Don’t forget to protect major appliances like your fridge or air conditioning system.

  1. Get a cover for your air conditioning unit.

Its best to purchase a manufacturer-approved cover for your air conditioning unit rather than attempting a DIY cover made from a tarp. DIY covers often lead to more problems than they protect against—like trapping moisture, which leads to mold.

  1. Start buying plywood now.

Hurricane shutters and panels can be pricey, and if you have not been preparing for that expense, plywood can work in a pinch. Focus on the largest areas (like sliding glass doors) to cover and then work your way around the home. Plywood can help protect against airborne projectiles during high winds of a storm or hurricane. Keep in mind that plywood sells out quickly once a major storm is announced and landfall is predicted.

  1. Seal windows and doors.

If you have any known issues of leaky windows or doorways, get them addressed now before a severe storm hits and causes further damage from major water intrusion. If you aren’t sure how well sealed you home is, you can request a blower door inspection, which looks for weaknesses in a home where air often escapes (like leaky windows and doors). As an added bonus, this home improvement task can help make your home more energy efficient as well.

  1. Clean up yard debris.

Yard debris, like dead tree limbs that have fallen into your back yard can easily become window-shattering projectiles. Clean up the backyard in advance and keep up with its general maintenance leading up to a named storm. Before a hurricane makes landfall, be sure to bring in any lawn décor, chairs, or other similar items that could turn projectile.

  1. Review your insurance policy.

Be sure you know what is covered and what is not—then ensure you have any gaps in coverage taken care of. Many insurance providers require a modified policy to be in effect 30 days or more before a claim can be filed, so try to do this on the onset of the hurricane season. You can get more information from your licensed insurance agent.

  1. Get a home maintenance inspection.

Maintenance issues that go unnoticed or put off are some of the main things that worsen following a major storm or hurricane. Have a home maintenance inspection conducted to get a thorough list of what to take care of that is appropriately prioritized based on what needs fixed soonest and which “fix” is going to be the hardest to tackle.