By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Sunday, November 5, 2023
South Australians are pretty lucky when it comes to climate, but as we’ve seen in recent years, we’re not immune to wild and woolly weather.
Just last November, South Australia was hit with damaging winds and heavy rain, which caused flash flooding and left thousands of people without power.
It might have been a freak weather event, but there’s no guarantee it won’t happen again.
Here are four simple ways you can prevent or reduce the storm damage to your home and avoid a costly insurance claim.
1. Keep ‘em clean
Simply cleaning your gutters, or getting a professional to do the job, can go a long way to help storm-proofing your home. If there’s a storm and the gutters and downpipes are clogged with leaf litter, water may build up and overflow under your home’s eaves, into your roof.
The process of clearing your gutters is relatively straightforward, but if you want to keep them clear for longer, we recommend a product called GuttaFilta, which can be installed by RAA Trade Assist tradies.
GuttaFilta is a protective layer of polyurethane foam that sits inside your gutters, preventing debris and vermin from getting in. It’s an Australian-made product and is compatible with iron and Colorbond roofing.
2. Trim tree branches
Tree branches can cause significant damage to your property if they fall during a storm.
Get a qualified arborist inspect any tree with ominous-looking, overhanging branches. They can remove the branch(es) and advise you on the overall health of the tree in question.
If the tree isn’t on your property, you’ll need to contact your local council before cutting off any branches.
You’ll also need to contact the council if the tree you want to prune has a trunk circumference of two metres or more. It may be classed as a regulated or significant tree, which means it can’t be removed, lopped or otherwise damaged without local council approval.
3. Secure loose items
Items around the house can become dangerous projectiles during a storm and cause significant damage to your home. To avoid damage to windows, fences and even your roof, bring inside or tie down outdoor furniture, potted plants, tools and kids’ toys if you know a storm is on its way.
4. Check the condition of your roof
Your roof might not be leaking now, but that doesn’t mean it’s storm-ready. An unexpected storm may reveal damage to your roof that you haven’t noticed when it’s dry. Common problems include cracked or broken tiles, damaged roof sheeting, insulation damage and debris or dirt build-up.
It’s best to get your roof inspected by a qualified person every five or so years (or after a major weather event) to ensure it’s still in tip-top condition, and RAA Trade Assist experts can assist.
Call the South Australian State Emergency Service on 132 500 for emergency assistance during floods and storms. You can keep an eye on current warnings at ses.sa.gov.au