What the heck is home hardening?

The idea of home hardening usually conjures images of completely residing your house with non-flammable material, replacing windows with double pane windows, or installing a new non-flammable roof—all outside of the budget for most of us.

What can you do this weekend?

The reality is, there are many, many home-hardening activities you can tackle—with no money and only a little of your time. Here are just a few of the many ideas:

  • Clean rain gutters and roofs of leaves and debris.
  • Cover all vent openings with 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch metal mesh. Do not use fiberglass or plastic mesh because they can melt and burn. If possible, use Ember and flame-resistant vents (WUI vents).
  • Install screens in all usable windows to increase ember resistance and decrease radiant heat exposure.
  • Create an ember-resistant zone around and under all decks, and remove all combustible items from underneath your deck.
  • Close the fireplace flue during fire season when the chimney is unused.
  • Add a battery backup to the garage door motor so the garage can easily be operated if power is out.
  • Install weather stripping around all doors, including under the garage door, to prevent embers from blowing in.
  • Make sure your address is clearly visible from the road.
  • Have multiple garden hoses long enough to reach all areas of your home and other structures on your property. If you have a pool or well, consider getting a pump.

Resources to explore….

There are many great resources to help you prioritize your home-hardening efforts to tackle things that make the biggest difference. Here are just a few:

Read here to find the 5 least expensive home hardening projects.

This is an excellent homeowners guide from Fire Safe Sonoma Living with Fire

This is a short video: NFPA Structural Hardening by Dr. Jack Cohen (13 min.)

Here is Calfire’s Low-Cost Retrofit list