Bunker Down For Winter: How To Prepare Your Home For Storm Season

Real Estate-Bunker Down For Winter

Melbourne winters are known for being pretty tempestuous, which is why the ritual of preparing your property for coming storms and whipping winds is of paramount importance for South Melbournians in particular. After all, our little corner of Melbourne is prone to experiencing torrential rain, flooding, and damaging winds sent over from the Antarctic. 

Thankfully, a lifetime of Melbourne winters has helped most of us understand that a little work in the lead-up to the blustery season can save you from days if not weeks of headaches – and a lot of money in avoidable emergency home repairs too.

For those who are new to Melbourne homeownership, then consider this guide a jumping off point, outlining all the top tips you need to prepare your home for this coming Melbourne winter.

Roof and gutter maintenance

Clean your gutters

Your gutters are your home’s first line of defence against storm damage as they divert excessive water flow away from your home. So it’s imperative that you keep your gutters in good shape during winter to make sure they can perform as required. 

Proper gutter maintenance starts with a good gutter cleaning. It’s recommended that you clean your gutters every 1-2 months depending on how much debris is collected. For instance, if you have trees on your property and know that leaves, twigs and other debris accumulate in your gutter regularly, then make sure you’re enlisting gutter cleaning services or grabbing a ladder yourself just as frequently to stay on top of the mess. 

Keeping your gutters regularly clean will prevent them from breaking and leaking, which will also ensure your roof stays in good health. If you’re concerned that you might have damage to your gutters or wider home draining, then consider securing a gutter inspection. Professional gutter cleaners will be able to remove debris, install gutter protection and address any minor issues before they become worse.

Inspect your roof

Damage to your roof such as loose or missing tiles can cause water to leak into your home. Even the mildest of leaks can cause catastrophic damage if left unattended. For instance, a leaking roof could cause structural damage to your ceiling joist, wall framing and fascia boards. 

Black mould is also a common occurrence in homes with water damage and has been linked to a wide range of health conditions such as asthma and chronic fatigue syndrome. This is why it’s so important to get your roof inspected by a professional before storm season.


Seal gaps

Keeping comfortable in Melbourne winters is all about keeping the heat in and the cold out. So naturally, the first thing us seasoned Melburnians do on a cold day is turn the heating on…and then let all the heat walk out the door and windows without even realising. 

Even with all your windows and doors closed, you can still have precious heat leaking out through the gaps between your door frames and window sills. On top of this, the seals on the edges of doors and windows wear down over time and will thus need to be replaced periodically relative to their usage. 

One of the simplest ways of saving money on your electricity bill and to keep warm is to check and replace the seals on doors and windows to avoid excessive heat leakage.

Install window protection

The fragile glass in windows is a critical weak point in all homes as they don’t always have the structural integrity to withstand the strong winds of winter storms. Simple window protection such as laminated glass and a storm screen can prevent dangerous debris from coming through your window during a storm.

Assess your insulation

Another vital component of weatherproofing your home is making sure that your home is fitted with modern insulation materials that actually allow your property to better retain heat. A lot of older properties (built in the mid 20th century) are actually sorely lacking in insulation, which is why you’re more likely to experience interior temperatures of around 5-10 degrees Celsius in these Federation-style and post-war Aussie homes. 

If you suspect that your property insulation could do with an update, then be sure to consult insulation specialists (as well as plumbers to insulate your pipes). 

Asses your surroundings

Trim trees and shrubs

As a common cause of severe storm damage is falling branches and other debris from trees, this is not one method for storm preparedness that you want to ignore. Of course, if you’re not equipped to trim taller trees, then we highly recommend calling a professional. It may not be possible to know whether a tree is at risk of falling from looking at it, which is yet another reason why getting an expert arborist to assess that likelihood is necessary. 

Clearing dead and unnecessary foliage will also help prevent fires from starting during the hotter summer months. That, and there’s every chance that lightning can strike trees in winter too, resulting in smoke or fire. Although this is less common, you can still avoid all risks by simply keeping your home clear of long grass, shrubs and overhanging tree branches.

Secure outdoor furniture

During a strong storm wind speeds can reach up to 50 kph. At this speed, wind can easily move deck chairs and pot plants. And in particularly strong winds, even larger items like trampolines and swing sets can be blown around too. 

This poses a huge safety risk to you and your home. So during the winter months, ensure that all of your outdoor furniture is secured away from the elements. For larger items that you may not be able to store away, it’s recommended that you tie them down at multiple points and/or weigh them down with sandbags.

Emergency preparedness

Create an action plan for your household

Finally, in the event of an emergency there may not be enough time to decide what to do and what everyone’s individual responsibilities are. This is why it’s necessary to have an action plan in place beforehand to avoid any confusion.

Your household’s emergency plan should include details like evacuation/meet up points, plans for pets and livestock, locations of back up supplies, and relevant emergency contacts. Action plans should also be reviewed regularly and adapted to the unique needs of your household. Make sure that everyone knows the plan and is up to date with any changes that are made.

Stockpile emergency supplies

In extreme weather conditions your home may not have readily accessible food, water, or electricity. That’s why it’s so important to have stockpiles of these emergency supplies ready in the event of severe weather conditions or emergencies like blackouts. 

Large containers of water and long-life foods such as cans and cereal grains are a great starting point here. And if you’re more remote or live on a street that may be prone to flooding and can thus delay emergency services, then it can also be worth investing in a backup generator and a water filter.


With these tips you should be well on your way to protecting your home through this coming storm season. So be sure to get to work on all your home maintenance tasks now to kick off this winter with minimal concern.

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