7 Tips To Storm-Proof Your Home
South Africa has seen an uptick in severe storms in recent years, so it’s important to storm-proof your home. Here are some tips…
Published: Thursday, May 11th 2017
We’re lucky in South Africa when it comes to severe storms – they are generally few and far between.
But, recent years have seen an uptick in storms. And, climate change means that this trend is only set to increase.
Even if you have an insurance policy for storms, you’ll still want to protect your home from damage.
Here are seven ways to storm-proof your home:
1. Repair Roof And Ceiling Leaks
While that tile missing from your roof, or the small leak in your ceiling, may seem like small problems, a storm can quickly cause things to escalate.
When rain is able to penetrate the roof, water quickly builds up. This will, eventually, leak through your ceiling.
While many ceilings can withstand a certain amount of water, if it is already weakened by cracks or damp spots, a storm can cause serious damage.
Damp spots and leaks quickly turn into holes during severe storms. Entire chunks of your ceiling can collapse, due to enough water, and rot.
This means you’d have to replace entire parts of your ceiling.
You’ll rather want to repair any cracks (which costs significantly less) and any roof weaknesses, which allow for the leaks.
This will save you a lot of time and money.
2. Make Sure Your Property Doesn’t Gather Water Easily
If a flood is significant enough, you won’t be able to stop it. But, at the same time, some people have properties that get filled with water after just a few hours of rainfall.
Make sure that the plot of land which your house is situated on has adequate drainage.
This includes making sure your walls have 'holes' through which water can escape.
If you have a low spot in your yard that gathers water, you can implement a variety of drainage solutions too. Making sure water doesn’t gather there is especially important if the spot is located close to the foundations of your home.
Either divert the water with pipes, level out the soil, or install a drain.
3. Unplug Your Electronics When There’s a Storm
Those familiar with lightning storms will know the common advice of unplugging your electronics.
Power surges can be caused when lightning strikes an electric pole or cable. But, can also be caused by very strong winds affecting power lines.
HowStuffWorks recommends not relying on a surge protector during storms, as they are often overwhelmed by lightning strikes and rendered ineffective. Surge protectors are primarily there to prevent surges caused by your power company.
The best way to protect against power surges is to simply unplug your valuable electronics.
4. Maintain Your Gutters
You need to make sure that your gutters are properly connected to your downspouts and that they are clean.
Incorrectly maintained gutters can lead to a water buildup, which seeps into your walls and foundation, SurvivalLife.com points out.
It’s no fun cleaning gunk and leaves from your gutters, but neither is having to deal with water damage.
5. Clear Any Branches And Old Trees Close To Your Home
Damage to your home, during a storm, can often be caused by falling debris.
Old, overhanging branches, or unstable trees, are a hazard during storms and should rather be removed.
Not only can they damage your home, but they are also a safety risk if they collapse during a storm.
6. Consider Storm Protection Reinforcements
In places like America, where hurricanes and tornadoes are much more common, you can buy reinforcements for your home. These include steel storm gates and storm shutters for your windows.
While this may seem a bit extreme within the South African context, shutters could actually help prevent hail damage.
People in Gauteng are particularly familiar with severe hail storms, which can break windows and destroy frames. Therefore, considering storm reinforcements might actually be a good idea.
7. Keep Your Home In Good Condition
Sometimes, to save money, we do let parts of our home’s exterior fall into disrepair. Such as cracked windows or rickety doors.
However, this can put you at risk during a storm.
The biggest motivator to keep your home maintained, though, is that insurers will not pay for storm damage if they find that your house has not been properly maintained.
This means that not only is your home more vulnerable, but in the event of damage, your claim will likely be rejected.
8. Make Sure You Are Sufficiently Covered
In light of point number seven, it is vital to ensure that your home is properly insured in the first place. Repair costs, following a storm, can build up and be a lot higher than expected. So much so, that you may not be able to afford them yourself. For this reason, it is imperative that you get home insurance and that you keep your policy up-to-date with home improvements etc.
If you already have home insurance, consider combining your car and home insurance policies and you can stand to save up to 35% on your monthly premiums.