They say that once the K-Way puffer jackets come out in Cape Town, winter is here, and the mercury has certainly dropped in the Western Cape. But, on a serious note, many parts of the country have already had to deal with inclement weather, with Gauteng experiencing unseasonal rainfall and KwaZulu-Natal battling the deadliest storm in decades.
While one can never fully prepare for natural disasters of the scale seen with the recent devastating floods, there are a few things homeowners can do – whether living inland or at the coast, and in a freestanding home or a sectional title unit – to prepare for winter.
1. Seal the cracks
Check and seal any cracks in walls, doors and windows. This way, you will keep out draughts and also cut down on your monthly electricity costs as you will need less heat to keep your home warm, says Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond. “You can also maintain a comfortable temperature by installing double-glazed windows and calling in the experts to insulate your roof.” And don’t forget the old faithfuls that generations before us have used to keep their homes warm. A sturdy draught stopper will also help keep out pesky gusts of wind.
2. Clean your gutters and waterproof your roof
Clear the build-up of fallen leaves and other debris that may have collected in your gutters to prevent them from getting clogged up when the rain starts. “It’s advisable to also get your roof inspected for leaks before the wet weather months,” advises Alen Ribic, Co-founder of SweepSouth, SA’s largest home services platform. “Roof maintenance is vital, as leaks collecting in your ceiling can cause support beams to rot and create unsightly water stains on ceilings,” he adds.
3. Cook safely
Faulty cooking equipment is one of the leading causes of household fires. As we tend to spend more time in the kitchen during winter, make sure that your stove top is clean and that there are no cracks in your oven. If whipping up soups and stews is a seasonal activity in your household, it may be worth renting a stove from Teljoy for the next few months. “Not only does this give you the flexibility to enjoy the benefits of having a working stove on a month-to-month basis, you also have the peace of mind in knowing that it comes with a maintenance and repair plan,” says Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of Teljoy. To top it off, free installation is included as part of the monthly price so you can be sure that your stove will be properly and safely installed.
4. Fireplace upkeep
Before snuggling in front of your fire this winter, inspect your fireplace and chimney for any damage, cracks or obstructions. You should sweep your chimney at least once a year. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you need to make sure there is no soot buildup which could pose a health risk, says Coetzee. It may be a good idea to use the services of a certified chimney sweep who can identify serious venting problems and damage. This way, you can be sure that your fireplace will be effective and safe this winter.
5. Garden maintenance
Branches blown about during a storm can wreak havoc on your home and cars parked outside. Trim back any branches already hanging over your roof or property as a precaution. SweepSouth has a garden maintenance service that you can use as a once-off to get rid of pesky branches or more regularly as a fortnightly or monthly service during winter to ensure that there is no build up of fallen leaves in gutters, or debris in the garden.
By preparing for the colder months you can enjoy winter knowing that your home is not only able to provide comfort, but will also help keep your family as safe as possible.
6. Fix outdoor lights
Leaving for work early or arriving home after sunset? With winter evenings drawing in earlier and the sun coming up later, it will probably be dark outside when you do. Make sure that all outdoor lights are working so that your house has a well-lit exterior – a great security feature, especially on dark winter nights.
“A few solar lights around your property will ensure the exterior stays lit even during load-shedding,” says Ribic. Mount them along walkways to illuminate the route to your car, or on the wall outside your front door – and place the solar panels in a sunny location. If you’re good at DIY, mounting lights will be an easy task, but if you need help, find a trusted professional through an app like SweepSouth’s Connect, which lists reliable and rated professionals, like handymen, electricians, and plumbers in your area.
Anne-Marie Bamber is Norgarb Properties dedicated Home Loans Consultant. She has over 15 years’ experience in assisting clients with their Home Loan needs and has placed many happy families in their dream homes.
Contact her today for no cost stress-free home-buying.
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