Preparing your property for storms.
Many parts of Australia at this time of year can experience inclement weather and storms bringing heavy rain, strong winds, hail and in extreme cases, floods. As a homeowner or property investor, being proactive about preparing your property for extreme weather events can reduce the risk of potential damage and give you peace of mind. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you get started.
Keep on top of maintenance
Regular property maintenance and checks can go a long way in preventing storm-related damage. Keep up with routine tasks such as cleaning gutters, inspecting roofing, and sealing any potential entry points for water intrusion. Addressing these issues on an ongoing basis avoids the need to panic-prepare while storm clouds gather on the horizon.
Check windows and doors
Windows and doors can become vulnerable to damage during storms. Check the seals around windows and doors are waterproof and weather tight, and do the same for skylights which can often take a battering, particularly during a hailstorm.
If you live in an area that receives more than its fair share of heavy storms and strong winds, such as coastal areas, consider installing external window shutters to prevent water intrusion and reduce the risk of breakage from flying debris.
If your property has trees check them for any branches that may potentially come down in a storm – particularly dead ones or those overhanging roofs, and get them removed sooner rather than later. Eucalyptus trees are regular offenders when it comes to dropping branches (and are also known to topple over in their entirety) - regardless of any inclement weather and without warning - so pay particular attention to these and get them checked by a professional if needs be.
Secure outdoor items
Unsecured items lying around your property such as outdoor furniture, trampolines, kids play equipment, and garden implements, can all become projectiles during storms and cause untold damage to surrounding property or even people. If a storm is forecast firmly secure such items in place or better still, move them undercover. It’s also worth doing this if you are going on holiday in case a storm arises in your absence.
Check drainage systems
Proper drainage is crucial during heavy rains when large volumes of water can quickly inundate your gutters and cause them to overflow. Check that gutters, downspouts, and drains are clear of leaf litter and functioning optimally so water can drain away. And remove leaves and other tree litter/debris from the roof – otherwise this will be washed into the gutters and increase the risk of them overflowing when a storm hits.
Get up on the roof
While you’re cleaning the gutters, take a good look at your roof and check for any loose or missing tiles, or any other visible signs of damage that need repairing. Even relatively small gaps can quickly become major problems when bad weather hits. Be sure to repair any loose tiles at this point or hire a qualified professional to deal with them.
Consider backup power sources
Depending where you live, power outages can often occur as a result of storms, particularly in leafy areas where trees and branches are prone to fall on power lines. Your fridge contents might survive a short outage but if the power is out for several days then you could find yourself substantially out of pocket particularly if you have just done a big shop!
If blackouts are commonplace after storms in your area, then while it can be an initial steep outlay, investing in a backup power source, such as a generator, will keep essential equipment like your fridge freezer running and potentially save you money in the long run. Not to mention avoiding the need for camp stove cooking and candlelit dinners.
Create an emergency kit
Depending on the risks your area is prone to –storms, flooding or bushfires – it’s a good idea to prep an emergency kit that can be easily grabbed in case of emergency. This should include critical items such as torches, batteries, phone chargers, bottled water, non-perishable food plus first aid supplies and vital medication.
Review insurance coverage
Adequate insurance coverage is crucial in protecting your property and belongings in the event of destructive weather, so review your insurance coverage to check the extent to which you’re covered for storm-related damage and plan accordingly.
Being proactive about preparing for a storm can not only minimize the potential for any damage to your property but also ensure the safety of all its occupants. By following these guidelines and staying on top of your home maintenance, you'll be well-equipped to confidently weather any storms that come your way.