Batten down the hatches!

As stormy weather strikes at the start or end of every winter season, it is wise to safeguard your home by conducting a quick DIY Home Inspection checklist. You could even expect the sudden harsh conditions of a cold snap, including sudden freezes and blizzards this time of year.

To prevent damage and ensure safety in your home, we’ve prepared a practical checklist below to help you tackle both scenarios.

Let’s start from the outside in:

Start with an Exterior Inspection of the Building

Secure your Roof

Inspect your roof for vulnerabilities that could lead to ice damming and snow accumulation damage. A stress check would be worthwhile to ensure your roofing materials can withstand heavy snow.  Look out for loose or damaged shingles and replace them where needed.

Clear Gutters and Downspouts

Clear Gutters and downspouts to prevent potential ice buildup, especially if there is a potential for trapped water to harden into ice.  Also, ensure your gutters and external pipes are securely fastened to handle the sudden increased burden of accumulating snow and ice or battering from heavy gusts and winds.

Check Windows and Doors

Check and upgrade any seals and add weather stripping to maintain warmth and prevent cold drafts from seeping in. If there are huge gaps, water could also seep in during heavy rain.

Check your Surrounding Property

It’s also essential to check for potential hazards, such as loose debris or tree branches, that could cause damage during a storm.

Remove Vulnerable Trees and Branches

Prune any vulnerable trees to prevent breakage and falling branches that can sustain damage from heavy snowfall. This is especially critical if the foliage is close enough to damage your roof or fall through a window if struck down.

 If you suspect a tree might be susceptible to falling, you may want to call in expert tree surgeons or alert the city council (if the tree is outside your property but close by).

Check for Structural cracks.

Check walls for major cracks that could be exacerbated during freezing weather and fill these in.  Look out for suspicious bulges or loose panels or blocks that could be susceptible to breaking away if subject to freezing conditions. 

Secure Outdoor Furniture and Remove Decorations

Ensure you safely secure heavy outdoor or store lighter furniture inside a shed or garage space to prevent damage from snow and ice.

Lighter furniture and outdoor items like trampolines, bins and lightweight playground furniture should really be tied down or stored in a shed or garage. These items can be blown metres into the air during heavy storm gusts and risk crashing down into your property or surrounding properties, inflicting further damage.

Secure your Shed

If your shed structure is made from a lightweight material or is old with loose or broken panels, be sure to repair what you can, and ideally, reinforce the shed door and roof if there is any risk that a sudden gust could blow this off. Your shed may contain sharp metal objects that could be dislodged if exposed to sudden heavy gusts.

A Top to Top-to-Bottom interior Inspection

Check your Attic and Insulation:

Check your attic to ensure sufficient insulation to keep the house warm and prevent ice dams on the roof. Inspect for internal leaks that could lead to water damage when ice melts outside on your roof.

Our blog provides more detail on how to take more care of your attic space with a checklist for an attic upgrade: How to Attack your Attic, Clear It, Clean It and Win!

Check your Basement and Foundation

If you have an accessible basement and crawl spaces under the house, check for drafts and insulate pipes to prevent freezing and bursting.

Mind your Plumbing

Ensure heating systems work well to maintain a warm indoor temperature during a cold snap.

Ask for a Boiler Check

A failed boiler is the last thing you want to grapple with during a cold snap when a hot water supply is essential, particularly in homes dependent on central heating. If it has been long since the last one, ensure you get your boiler checked and serviced. 

Invest in Pipe Insulation:

Take measures to insulate water pipes to prevent freezing and potential bursts.

Prepare for a Blackout or Power Outage

Prepare for a blackout by stocking up on accessories and supplies that will see you through a power outage, such as flashlights, candles, and batteries.

Prepare Emergency Heating Options:

Consider investing in back-up heating options such as portable heaters, and ensure you have sufficient fuel. Stock up on wood fuel for your fireplace or stove in the event of an electrical failure that may affect your heating system or any failure in your energy supply.

A Stash of Alternative Light Sources.

Stock up on alternative light sources such as battery-powered lanterns, candles (with matches or lighters), and solar-powered lights. Installing solar-powered lights in your outdoor areas will also be a good safety investment in a blackout.

If using a stock of candles, be sure to use them safely, especially in the company of young children, to prevent fire hazards.

Back up power for your Devices

You will have to use your phone in an emergency, so invest in a portable with at least four charges available. You can even source larger solar-powered batteries as backup for larger devices like laptops. 

Your Storm-Ready DIY Shopping List

  • Stock up on Emergency first-aid kits and ice melt.
  • Get some De-icing Salt for your driveways and external pathways. ​​This salt melts snow and ice on roads, paths and patios. It does so by lowering the freezing point of water, which causes the snow and ice to melt at temperatures below freezing. The salt prevents ice build-up on multiple surfaces, making them safer for vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Roof Repair and Snow Removal Tools, including Roof rakes
  • Invest in a Snow shovel. Our Abs Poly Grain Shovel is ideal for fast-moving wood chips, rubble, farm waste, grain, compost, snow, etc. This lightweight multipurpose shovel has a large impact-resistant plastic scoop with reinforcing ribs and deep sides. The plastic scoop does not create sparks when dragged across a concrete floor, making it a safe choice for use with flammable materials.

  • De-icing cables
  • Sealant, Strips and draft excluders
  • Gutter Accessories: Heated gutter guards, downspout extensions
  • Pick up some Window and Door Insulation supplies and accessories such as Thermal curtains, draft stoppers, and weather-stripping.
  • Invest in supplies for your Insulation Upgrades: Insulation rolls, foam sealants, and pipe insulation.
    • We have an excellent selection of Pipe Lagging at Products such as the Class O insulation tube from Climaflex effectively reduce heat loss from your pipework. It is made from a CFC-free compact and closed-cell polyethene foam, which ensures superior durability and provides long-lasting protection from moisture, corrosion, and water damage. Combined with the Class O rating, this offers maximum heat retention and energy efficiency.
  • Heating System Maintenance supplies such as filters for furnaces, portable heaters, and fuel cans.
  • Install anti-slip surfaces on outdoor steps and patio areas. Our Trojan Gripdex anti-slip products are the answer for dealing with slippery decking and concrete steps! Simply glue or screw it into place in a directional walkway for a safer grip in snow and icy conditions.
  • Consider stocking up on a solid multi-purpose Polypropylene Blue Rope to secure outdoor structures and equipment.

Use this Opportunity Well

Start the year off on the right footing by using this opportunity to enhance the safety and security of your home for the year ahead. Use the urgency of the Stormy season to expedite essential repairs and measures you may have been holding off for some time.

You’ll thank yourself later in the year regardless of whether the cold snap arrives!