The weather is becoming evermore unpredictable worldwide. With floods, fires, high winds and earthquakes on the rise, here are some useful tips to help you protect your home from the elements:
Inspect your brickwork
It is normal for building materials to expand and contract when it is extremely hot or cold, but you must ensure that any damage is repaired as quickly as possible to avoid damp getting in. Never put anything in front of air bricks either. Check if your house would benefit from cavity wall insulation if you don’t already have it.
Clear your gutters
Inspect and clean your gutters every fall. If they are full of leaves and other debris the rainwater or melting snow can overflow leading to roof damage and flooding around the foundation of your home. Fix leaking gutters and blocked drains to ensure water does not get on to your external walls and seep into the brickwork.
Check for leaks
Check your attic vents, chimney, doors, plumbing, roof and windows every fall. If you see peeling paint, discoloration of pain or caulking and swelling around a window or door frame this could mean you have a leak. You can use a sealant if it is not too serious, but a major leak requires help from the experts. If your roof is leaking or in need of repair, you should call in residential roofers to fix the problem immediately. If your gable wall is not connected to your roof trusses properly, high winds could put pressure on the walls and mini tornados could even cause the wall to collapse.
Lag your pipes
Frozen and burst pipes can cause a lot of damage in cold weather. If you go away over winter, leave your central heating on low to avoid pipes freezing over. If you end up with a frozen pipe, turn off the water at the stopcock and give the pipe time to heat up. You could use a hot water bottle to speed up the process. Ensure your pipes are lagged and if a pipe bursts, turn the central heating off and open the taps to drain the water through the system.
If you live close to water sources or fields that can become flooded with rainfall, keep sandbags to hand or try building an extra wall to change the way water will drain away from your property. You could also try guards, damp-proof courses (barriers built into walls to prevent rising damp) or non-return valves. If you have a sump pump, have it tested every year to ensure it is in full working order. If you are prone to flooding, ask an electrician to move plug sockets so they are not at ground level and use water-resistant materials when redecorating or refurbishing your home.
There are lots of signs that your driveway needs renovating. If you have a concrete driveway, think about using a sealant on it before winter comes to keep it smooth and avoid cracks appearing.