Any good homeowner knows how important it is to pay attention to weather warnings, whether they involve oncoming snow or powerful storms. Thousands of people in the UK have already lost access to power thanks to Storm Eleanor, but strong wind and rain can do much more than cause electrical issues, such as uprooting trees and even toppling cars!
When you hear that a storm is on the way, it is important to make sure that your property is well protected. While it may be impossible to completely prevent storm damage, depending on the area you live in, there is a lot that you can do to minimise it. In case of an emergency, make sure that you have contact details for local electricians, plumbers and heating engineers.
If you want to keep your property safe in a storm, here are the jobs which you must remember!
Strong winds are known to be able to uproot trees. While they might not be sent flying, they can quite easily collapse onto buildings or into gardens, causing a great deal of damage.
If you have any particularly large trees in your garden, your best course will be to have a tree surgeon prune them. Your Pro will prune back any loose or dead branches so that in the event it does fall, the resulting damage will be reduced.
While you can prune a tree yourself, accessing higher branches can be highly dangerous if you do not have the proper training and safety equipment. Any branches which you cannot reach without the aid of a ladder should be left to a professional.
Objects commonly found in a garden can become deadly in a powerful storm. Loose items can easily be sent flying through windows or doors, while more expensive items like BBQs and patio heaters can heavily damaged if left uncovered.
Luckily, there is a simple rule for you to follow: if something is not firmly held down, it will need to be moved. This includes:
If something is small enough, store it inside. If not, dismantle it and then store it. When neither of these options are possible, cover the item up and secure it down as firmly as possible. Remember, when it comes to keeping your garden safe in a storm, a shed can provided plenty of invaluable storage space. Any loose fence posts should either be removed or, if you have time, repaired by a local carpenter.
Sheds and garages provide invaluable safe storage space during a storm. As such, it is important to make sure that they are prepared for the weather.
You should take special care to make sure that the shed of your roof is secure. If not, call in a local carpenter to fix the damage. Remember to also check the windows and guttering.
Like other garden objects, water features can cause serious damage during a storm. However, many people forget that storms can also bring ice and snow: two things that can devastate anything connected to a water pipe.
To protect your water features, cut them off and empty them of all water. This should prevent ice from cracking the pipes or containers. To be doubly safe, disconnect your water features and hose pipes from your garden spigot, then store them away if possible.
While certain items can safely be left outside, others should be stored inside as a priority. This includes any and all electrical or motorised items, such as lawnmowers or heaters.
It is better to store these items in a garage, as a particularly bad storm can still enter a shed and cause moisture damage to everything stored inside. If these items cannot be internally stored, cover them with durable tarps and ensure that they are weighed down.
Even in areas that are unlikely to be affected by storms, homeowners often fail to properly maintain their gutters and soffits. The points attaching them to a property can slowly loosen over time and during in a storm they can be ripped off completely, creating another falling hazard.
This possibility is doubly dangerous, as not only can falling gutters and soffits damage a property, they can also prevent adequate drainage - something which you will almost certainly need to prevent moisture damage to your home as a result of the rain!
If necessary, have a handyman or roofer inspect your soffits and gutters. They should be able to tighten them to your property, or replace them if necessary.
Your roof will be one of the most vulnerable parts of your home during a storm. Wind can quite easily knock tiles loose or worsen existing leaks. However, this does not mean that you should go walking around on top of your roof!
Start by inspecting your roof from the ground. Can you see any loose tiles, mould, signs or leaks or other damage? If so, call a local roofer to fix things as soon as possible. They will have the experience and safety equipment to fix things without injury.
In a dangerous storm, everyone needs to stay safe - tail or no tail!
If you have a pet which you usually let outside, be sure to keep them inside during the bad weather. This will protect them from getting lost or injured out in the storm.
It may sound silly, but one of the most important things that you can do to prepare for a flood warning is to make sure that your property is properly covered by your insurance policy. This will ensure that you can afford to pay for any damage resulting from the storm.
Remember, if you live on a flood plain or in a coastal area where the risk of storm damage is higher, you may find that insurance premiums are more expensive. While this may sound painful, remember how much more expensive it could be to have to pay for repairs out of your own pocket. Stubbornness will not prevent storm damage, after all!
It should go without saying that storms can cause serious damage to a property’s utilities. Thousands of people are already suffering from power cuts caused by Storm Eleanor, while others have been left without water and heating.
While this can be difficult to prevent, you can greatly minimise the damage by making sure that everyone in your property knows where the water, gas and electricity mains are located. This will allow you to switch off damaged utilities until a trade professional can come to repair them.