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. Be sure to remove any unsafe or overhanging branches removed. Any 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 but 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.
Last but certainly not least, make sure your home insurance policy is up to date and your contents insurance reflects the current value of your possessions. These precautions will be your best bet for keeping your home and family safe.