This summer has been filled with a slew of crazy storms; the storms have been extremely windy, heavy rain and overall, very intense. Much of my city has been without power for days because of fallen trees. The upside of living off the grid is I have full control over my entire power system, I can inspect and fix anything that breaks.
One decision I made when going off grid was to park my house in the woods where I have tree cover for shade during the summer and in the winter (when the leaves fall), solar exposure. But the last few months have called into question the wisdom of that decision.
This summer alone I’ve had two huge trees (75+ foot) fall perilously close to my house. Last week I was standing in my kitchen cooking dinner when I didn’t just see lightning, I felt my entire floor flex beneath my feet as the bolt struck a tree only 15 feet from my house. To put it mildly, it scared me. I felt the floor flex and then all a sudden my windows were covered by tree branches and leaves.
The tree that fell had a huge “Y” fork in it and my house miraculously fell right between that fork as the tree hurtled towards my house. The large trunk landed on both sides of my tiny house. I’m not one that stresses out easily, gets on edge or prone to freak outs, but I was seriously on edge after this.
I’ve talk a lot about setting up your land, this might be another consideration to take into account.
Some practical tips on building a strong house
- Make sure you use rafter hurricane ties for your roof
- Collar ties in your roof help prevent roofs folding in on itself
- Opt for a thicker roof deck if you can afford the extra weight
- Consider removing trees that pose a danger