Protecting your home from climate change

Insurance Concept. House Flooded

If you don’t know already, climate change is very real and has a big effect on properties, so if you’ve avoided the subject so far then it might be time to educate yourself, especially if you’re a homeowner.

What is climate change? Well put simply, it’s the long-term change in the average weather patterns that define local, regional and global climates on Earth.

Rising rainfall, searing sunshine, soaring temperatures and faster winds are all examples of climate change and are ones that can have an impact on our homes. For example, these changes can potentially make them less windproof and watertight. Taking care of areas of your home that are particularly vulnerable, whether you rent or own, is important to do now rather than later.

So what can you do to take on climate control and protect your home?

Survey your home

If you’ve just bought or begun renting a property, the chances are there are many aspects of the building you aren’t even aware of yet. Of course, if you have purchased your home then many issues would have appeared either in the home report or an independent survey you had carried out, but it’s always worth doing your own checks especially after any extreme weather. It’s also a good idea to monitor any small areas that aren’t needing to be fixed immediately but may require attention further down the line.

Inside, check for peeling paintwork and cracks in the plasterwork that might be signs of damp. Are your window seals and door draught excluders intact or do they need to be replaced?

Outside, no matter what time of year it is, leaves and water can clog gutters and downpipes, so make sure these are kept clear. Also, look out for roof tiles that may have slipped. Even the smallest of gaps can result in the biggest of leaks!

All exposed piping should be lagged before winter sets in to protect them against freezing. If you’re renting, ask your landlord to organise this.

Insulation is extremely important, not just during winter months, so if you have access to loft space then check the quality of the insulation and whether it could do with being replaced. Check the roof for any loose tiles that could fly off or move further during strong winds.

If you discover your apartment has water entering from the roof in a top-floor flat, most often any repair costs will be shared by all the owners in your building. Your title deeds should have details of how to work out your share – you can get these from your mortgage lender, solicitor or the Registers of Scotland.

Act immediately

When the issues brought about by weather are small, they can be very easily managed but, the longer you wait, the greater the danger the problems will grow bigger.

So, once you’ve identified any concerns, act right away to prevent the damage from getting worse. Problems left unattended can ultimately require an emergency call-out – and more work and more cash in the long term.

If you’re renting, speak to your landlord straight away. It’s their responsibility for the maintenance of your home and they have a legal requirement to take action.

Trust the professionals

Whilst many of the jobs to safeguard your home can be carried out easily, even by the novice DIYer, sometimes it pays to bring in the professionals – even if it’s to simply seek advice.

After all, getting the job done well is just as important as getting the job done. To find the trades person that suits your budget best, be sure to get quotes from two or three. Speak to friends, family and even neighbours for some good recommendations. It’s also worth checking if there are any government grants available to you with repairs like window replacements.

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