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Preparing Your Property for The Rainy Season
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Preparing Your Property for The Rainy Season

It’s only August but the days are starting to get warmer and longer, and before you know it we will be in summer proper. As a diligent homeowner, you need to take steps to prepare your house for the summer months as they bring with them the risk of damage to properties from heavy rainfall, flooding and storms. As a homeowner, there are several steps you can take to help protect your home and prepare it for the wet weather ahead. Being proactive now can help prevent costly repairs later on. 

Inspect and Repair Roofs

One of the most important areas to check over is your roof. Examine the roof carefully, looking for any damaged, loose or missing shingles/tiles that need replacing. Faulty flashing around chimneys, vents and skylights should also be repaired. Check that gutters and downspouts are securely attached and clear of debris. Address any leaks promptly, as even minor dripping can lead to dampness and mould over time. Consider applying a roofing sealant to help prevent water seepage.

Clear Gutters and Drains 

Clogged gutters are a prime cause of water damage. Clear out any leaves, dirt and debris so that rain can flow freely. Use a hose to flush out downspouts as well. For homes with flat roofs, ensure roof drains and scuppers are free of obstructions. Installing gutter guards can help minimise future clogging. Check drainage grates and trench covers around the property and clear any blockages.

Seal Windows, Doors and Openings

Examine windows and doors for any gaps, cracks or rotting wood, and make repairs as needed. Reseal window frames and re-caulk doors to prevent draughts and leaks. Consider weatherproofing strips around doors as an extra precaution. Ensure all exterior openings, including dryer vents, are properly sealed. Check for any cracks or holes in the siding, eaves or foundation, and seal them up with caulk or waterproof filler.

Inspect Sump Pump(s) 

For homes with basements or crawl spaces prone to flooding, a properly functioning sump pump is essential. Test the sump pump to ensure it turns on and off automatically as designed. Replace the pump if necessary. Clean out the sump basin and check that the discharge pipe is free of kinks and blockages. Consider installing a backup battery system in case of power outages.

Clear Yard Debris

Trim back overgrown trees and shrubs near the home. Pruning branches helps prevent them from crashing down in storms. Rake up fallen leaves and other debris that could clog drains or cause flooding. Properly dispose of rubbish and store items that could blow away securely. Ensure drainage areas and property perimeter ditches are clear of debris buildup.

Inspect Exterior Paint/Finishes  

Examine the exterior paint or finishes on your home for any cracking, flaking or blistering, which can allow water to seep in. Repaint or re-coat worn areas as needed. Pay particular attention to window frames, doors, trim, siding and decking. Using exterior finishes formulated for wet weather can help maintain protection.

Move/Secure Outdoor Items

Bring any patio furniture, grills, potted plants and other movable outdoor items into a garage, shed or covered area to protect them. Anything left outside should be securely anchored down. Trampolines are particularly vulnerable to being blown about and should be taken apart if possible. Propane tanks should be moved to a protected spot away from rain runoff.

Check Flood Insurance Coverage

A lot of Zimbabweans do not believe in insurance but there has been a rise in extreme weather conditions thanks to climate change. Storms like Idai have shown that even the strongest of houses are not immune to the weather. For homes in flood zones such as in towns frequented by cyclones, make sure your flood insurance policy is current in the event of flooding from heavy rains or storms. Review policy terms so you understand exactly what's covered. Inventory valuables and take photos/videos as evidence if you ever need to file a flood insurance claim. Implementing flood protection measures such as berms, sump pumps or flood vents may help reduce insurance costs.

Prepare Emergency Supplies

Stock up on essential emergency supplies like flashlights, batteries, bottled water and non-perishable food. Keep supplies readily accessible in one location. Have a battery-operated radio to stay tuned to weather alerts and local news updates. Know where to access important documents and keep them in waterproof containers. Make sure backup phone chargers are working, and fill up any generators. 

By taking the time to make sure your home is set for summer before the heavy rains arrive, you can minimise potential damage and costly repairs. Addressing problem areas proactively makes your property better prepared to withstand the effects of the wet weather. Your preventative work now helps ensure your home stays safe and protected during the stormy months ahead.