La Niña is here: Is your home prepared?

People standing in Melbourne CBD in the rain waiting for a tram

Alice Piper

Posted December 16, 2021


Victoria may be in for a summer of rain, hail and strong winds. Here’s how to prepare your home for the possible effects of La Niña. 

The Victorian summer of 2021/22 is set to bring more rain, possible floods and cooler than usual daytime temperatures thanks to La Niña, a naturally occurring shift in ocean temperatures and weather patterns along the equator in the Pacific Ocean. 

This weather pattern has not been seen in ten years according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and is set to last until at least January 2022.  

November 2021 already previewed the possible effects of La Niña when hundreds of homes in Victoria were left without power after a night of heavy rain and wind. 

So, with more severe weather potentially on the horizon, it’s important to ensure that your home is La Niña ready – and that means undertaking key maintenance jobs in and around the home

How to prepare your home for La Niña 

Clean the gutters 

With La Niña set to deliver heavy rain, get prepared by cleaning out your gutters and ensuring that there are no leaves hanging around the roof, as these can clog gutters and cause water overflow.

Don’t forget to clean out downpipes running off gutters, as those need to be in top condition if the gutters are to work effectively. 

Working at height on a ladder can be risky, so be cautious when cleaning out your gutters and ensure you use safety equipment such as gloves and non-slip shoes.

Trim overgrown trees 

Trim back overhanging tree branches and remove dangerous trees situated too close to your home, as La Niña may bring winds strong enough to uproot trees. 

Clean storm water drains

Storm water drains are essential for allowing excess water to exit your property. Ensure that you clean out blocked storm water drains to reduce your risk of flooding.  A blocked storm water drain may be indicated by pools of water forming around your property after heavy rain. 

Check the roof for leaks

If you’ve been in your property for a while, it’s worth checking the state of the roof. Older homes can be prone to roof leaks in heavy rain and hail, especially those that are tiled.

Hail falling outside of garage door

With large hail expected this summer, check that your roof is structurally sound.  Image: Getty. 


 

Check the window fittings

It’s important to check the integrity of your home's window fittings, as damaged window fittings can allow water to seep into the home. Window fittings constructed from wood which can shrink, warp and rot over the years. 

Ensure you have home insurance coverage in place

Records show that rainfall is 20 per cent higher than average for December-March during La Niña years. This means eastern Australia faces a much higher risk of severe flooding over summer.

Check if your property is at a high risk of flooding and ensure that you have up to date home and contents insurance coverage in place.#

With the full impact of La Niña yet to come, taking the time now to prepare your home can help mitigate damage and financial loss from severe weather.

Remember, that while there are some home maintenance jobs you can do on your own, there are others that should be left to professionals to ensure the job is done safely and effectively. 


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Disclaimers:

# Unless you have chosen to remove Flood, Rainwater run-off or Storm Surge cover where we have identified your home at risk of flooding.  Other conditions apply including that damage caused by actions of the sea is not covered. 

RACV Home and Contents Insurance is issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Limited ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678. This is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs (“your personal circumstances”). Before using this advice to decide whether to purchase a product, you should consider your personal circumstances, the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination. For a copy call 13 RACV (13 7228).