The mercury is dropping, electric blankets are going on beds, and fluffy socks are being pulled from the back of the drawer – Winter is coming and things are about to get chilly.
What happens to your home? Just because bricks and mortar can’t feel the wind and rain it doesn’t mean it should be neglected during the colder months. We’ve compiled a few quick tips to remember in the harsh conditions that can come with the cold season.
The most common offender of the three; a tiny raindrop might not seem threatening when you’re tucked under the blankets, but left to build up water can damage your home from top to foundations.
Take steps such as checking the roof of your house prior to the wetter seasons, looking for cracked tiles, rusted gutters/covers, build up of leaves and/or clogged gutters to ensure that water can quickly run off the roof and into your home’s drainage system. If you spot a problem you can always ask for expert advice from your local handyman, hardware store or trusted websites, and if you want to DIY, prioritise your safety when working at height/
Similarly, check around the perimeter of your house after heavy rain to ensure there’s no water pooling close to your home itself. Without an avenue to run off, water can seep into the earth and be held up against the foundations of the house, which can cause leaks, rotting and foundation damage – especially if you have a basement.
While less of a regular feature in the ‘damaging elements’ category, wind is certainly still a force to be reckoned with, in particular for those living in tropical and/or coastal areas of Australia. Falling branches can occur anywhere, even in the slightest of winds. Check the trees around your house and if you are concerned, call in the experts for advice. If you still have concerns, keep furniture and vehicles away from risk areas, particularly in stormy weather.
For high wind or areas that are prone to cyclones/tropical storms, boarded windows might be your best and only option. If you don’t have timber frames that house your windows, spring loaded restraints can be used to fasten panels to brickwork or rendered cement. While they can’t shatter, garage doors are also quite weak from a structural standpoint, as they don’t have support in the centre, top, or bottom of the door. Secure your garage door with wooden beams fastened to the floor, or install make-shift storm supports that can be found at hardware stores.
Though most protection against the cold consists of draught snakes against the doors, heaters and your favourite hot drink, the home requires a little more thought when temperatures start to hit single digits. If permafrost/snow is something to consider in your local area, then ensure there are no leaks near indoor and outdoor taps, faucets, or build-up in the gutters or on the roof. Among the less obvious recommendations is to mulch your gardens, taking special note of plants that are prone to frost damage as well as any potted plants.
In addition to the home and garden, keep an eye on your car! Add antifreeze to the windscreen wiper fluid and check your tyres’ air pressure regularly, as cold weather can actually deflate your tyres over time.
Cold also tends to make you shut yourself in, which can lead to damp and mould build up in and around the home. Wherever possible in the colder months, keep things well ventilated so that moisture doesn’t settle in your roof and walls.
Now that you’re ready for the elements, make sure your home and contents are protected too. Virgin Money offers a range of Home and Contents Insurance options to protect your home and the things in it, and might be worth considering if you’re due for renewal.