They can produce damaging winds and flooding rains, so now’s the time to prepare your home for those unpredictable summer storms.
Strong winds can do a lot of damage, particularly if you have big trees in your yard. A tree may look perfectly strong and safe, but it’s during a storm when you find out how healthy it really is. Having your trees tested for disease and removing unsafe branches will protect your home from what could be a major disaster.
If you have any large trees near your house, you would be wise to have overhanging branches removed, whether they are diseased or not. Tree lopping should always be carried out by a licensed professional. Remove all items from your yard that have the potential to become airborne missiles during a storm, too. If a storm is forecast, place your car in the garage if you have one, or move it away from any trees and cover with a tarpaulin.
Other areas needing attention are your roof and gutters. Check your roof for loose tiles or shingles and repair or replace as required. Check that satellite dishes and TV antennas are firmly secured. Clean leaves and debris from your gutters and downpipes, as blocked gutters can cause water to flow back under the eaves and into your ceiling.
Windows are vulnerable to flying debris during a storm, so if you have shutters, ensure they are in good working order so they can be closed at short notice. If you live in a storm-prone area, you should consider buying storm shutters, as they are now made from super-strong materials that are strength-tested to withstand even hurricane-force winds.
If you don’t have shutters and you are aware of an approaching storm, consider taping your windows to prevent glass from shattering inwards. You may even want to board them up if you have the time and materials and the storm is predicted to be severe. Also check windows for gaps where rain could drive in and apply caulking to these areas.
If a storm is approaching, move all sensitive pot plants indoors and bring pets inside as well. Make your pets comfortable as they will become distressed if it is a severe storm with thunder and lightning. Ensure surge protectors are fitted to sensitive appliances, such as televisions, computers and stereo systems, in case of power surges or ‘brownouts’.
Have an emergency kit ready in case you lose power. Ideally, it should contain a torch and spare batteries, a transistor radio, a first aid kit and some food and drinking water. Make sure your home insurance policy is up to date.
When doing so, you should also make sure that your contents insurance reflects the current value of your possessions.
Summer storms can be frightening and destructive, but if you take adequate precautions before they arrive, you’ll have the best chance of keeping your home and your family safe.