Changes in climate can wreak havoc on an unprepared home. Help your clients ready their homes for natural disasters — or even just save energy — by offering these simple suggestions from “Tips to Prepare Your Home for Climate Change,” an article published online by The Bloomer Advance, based in Wisconsin.

Tips for dealing with natural disasters

• Get rid of unnecessary debris, branches, dead trees or anything around the house that can be hazardous when winds increase.

• Suggest clients keep supplies on hand to board windows if necessary.

• Immediately shut off the utilities following a disaster to prevent gas leaks and electrical fires.

• Have a home inspector or someone check the foundation of your home if you live in an area prone to earthquakes.

• Every household should have an emergency plan that includes an emergency kit containing a flashlight, first aid supplies, spare keys, cash, a change of clothing, sleeping bag, a three day supply of bottled water and copies of important documents and forms of ID.

• Keep gutters clean so they can direct rainwater away from the home’s foundation and basement.

• Electrical components such as sockets, wiring and circuits, should be placed above anticipated flood levels to prevent damage to the electrical system and potential short circuit fires.

• In the event your client’s property suffers damage, suggest they consider hiring a contractor who specializes in disaster recovery to help streamline the claims process, which can sometimes be quite complex.

Tips for saving energy

• Thermostats account for almost half of a home’s energy bill, according to the article. Install a programmable thermostat to help optimize heating and cooling.

• Change air filters frequently.

• Reduce air leaks and stop drafts with sealant, weather stripping and insulation.

• Make sure your ductwork is properly sealed.

• Maintain your heating and cooling equipment through annual inspections by a licensed contractor.

In addition to these steps, theBloomer Advance article suggested homeowners have a home inspection done every five to 10 years.

“Home inspections are not just for people buying and selling homes,” Dan Steward, president of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, a franchised company, said in the article. “Periodic inspections ensure everything is operating efficiently and there are no major structural weaknesses.”