SOURCE: The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show

October 24, 2005 05:00 ET

Discourage Disaster

High-Tech Home Improvement Solutions to an Age-Old Problem

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 24, 2005 -- MONEY PIT NEWS BUREAU -- Louisiana, Florida and Texas have had hurricanes, Kansas has tornadoes and California has fires. Natural disasters have plagued man since the dawn of time. Most people just cross their fingers and hope they never have to deal with it. But if you think you're safe -- think again. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flooding, fires or destructive high winds have hit every state in the country. Forty-one states have a significant earthquake hazard.

Fortunately, home building products have continued to evolve and improve to help consumers avoid the damage and destruction associated with disaster. "From building leak-proof roofs to restoring lost electricity, there are disaster-ready product solutions that can help you ride out the storm," says Tom Kraeutler, home safety expert and host of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Kraeutler, who spent 20 years as a professional home inspector, recommends the following:

POWER PROTECTION - Each year more than 75% of Americans experience a power outage and nearly three-quarters of those outages are caused by severe weather like thunderstorms, hurricanes or lightning strikes. Storm Station™ All-in-One Emergency Power Station by Black & Decker is a unique portable product that can brighten your day when the lights go out. When a power failure happens, Storm Station can re-charge a cell phone, broadcast emergency radio messages and, thanks to a built-in power inverter, can even run 120-volt appliances. Also unique is the product's "Find Me Light" that automatically turns on when household power shuts off, along with a built-in flashlight. To learn more, go to

BUILDING PROTECTION - Can you imagine the destruction that could occur when wind-powered debris is hurled at your home at 35 miles per hour? That's exactly what Therma-Tru, a manufacturer of fiberglass doors, wanted to find out. To test door strength, Therma-Tru engineers created an air cannon that fired an 8 foot 2x4 stud at 35 miles an hour through doors of varying construction. The result? The wood doors tested were pierced like needles, but the supersonic stud bounced right off the stronger fiberglass doors. When investing in new building products, consumers are wise to consider the disaster resistance of the building product. Making the wrong choice can lead to damage, severe injury or even death. For more information on fiberglass doors, visit

LEAK PROTECTION - Big leaks can destroy homes and small ones can cause toxic molds to grow that make occupants really sick. Fortunately, there have been impressive improvements in roofing materials that dramatically reduce the chance of that happening to you. Ice & Water Shield, a product by Grace Construction Products, can be installed under roofing and completely seals out even standing water. Similarly, flexible flashings, instead of old-fashioned aluminum, installed around windows and doors can prevent even wind-driven rain from breaking through to the inside. See for additional information.

For homes that have been leak damaged, there are even new paints that can help prevent mold from developing and make sure leak damage is sealed away. For example, Kilz manufactures a high-tech latex primer that seals in stains with a built-in mildicide formula that delivers long term protection from mildew that can form on wet walls. See

MORTGAGE PROTECTION - If you are unable to live in your home because of a hurricane or other disaster, would you still be able to handle monthly mortgage payments? Many disasters are not covered by home owners insurance, making this a real possibility. The solution may be Disaster Mortgage Protection Insurance. ACE USA offers Disaster Mortgage Protection, a product designed to provide coverage not typically addressed by standard homeowners' policies. Key benefits include covering mortgage obligations of home- or condo-owners whose dwellings or are deemed uninhabitable for more than 48 hours as a result of hurricanes or other disasters. There is also an option to make emergency cash available for homeowners struggling with financial challenges like advance payments to contractors, and transportation, food, lost wages, and replacing clothes, furniture, computers and countless other household items. If you are displaced from your home or job, Disaster Mortgage Insurance gets you through the rough spots. For more info, visit

"The next time you are thinking about improving your home, don't pick up a hammer or nail without asking yourself how the planned improvement might help you avoid one of life's most common disasters," says Kraeutler. "Remember, your mother was right: planning does make perfect!"

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