How can extreme weather impact your home?

July 9, 2024

Severe weather is becoming more frequent in the UK due to climate change, with a notable increase in heavy rainfall and heatwaves or cold snaps. According to the Met Office, 2020 was one of the wettest years on record, and 2022 saw unprecedented temperatures above 40°C for the first time in history.

As these episodes are likely to intensify, we must prepare our properties to withstand extreme conditions and ensure comfortable living year-round. Alongside don’t forget to get home insurance for financial protection in the face of repairs, you’ll need to take measures to mitigate the risk of weather-related damage and optimise the temperature of your home.

Discover how extreme weather can impact your home and how you can safeguard against it.

  1. Flooding

Flooding is one of the most significant consequences of extreme weather in the UK. Heavy rain causes rising river levels and overwhelms drainage systems, leading to water reaching and entering ground-level houses. This can cause structural damage including electrical hazards and mould growth, and ruin possessions. People are also displaced while repairs are made.

Install flood defences such as sandbags to block water from entering through doorways, and improve the drainage around your home. Should flooding occur, ensure all electrical appliances are elevated and secure important documents and valuables in watertight containers.

  • Storm Damage

Storms, occurring most often during the winter, can also inflict serious damage on properties. The combination of high winds and driving rain is powerful enough to rip off roof tiles, damage fencing and trees, bring down power lines and smash cars and windows with the debris. Thousands of homes were left without power for days last year after being battered by storms Ciaran and Gerrit, with damage costs running into millions of pounds.

While there is little defence against a storm, upgrading your property’s exterior could help to minimise damage. Regularly inspect and maintain your roof and gutters, secure loose outdoor items and reinforce the windows and doors. You should also trim the trees in your garden at least once a year to help prevent branches from breaking during storms.

  • Heatwaves

As temperatures increase worldwide, heatwaves are becoming more common. Stress on building materials is a risk, but the potential health risks for inhabitants are more dangerous, especially for the elderly, young children and people with health problems.

Improve home insulation to keep heat out. This might include installing reflective roofing materials, filling cavity walls and improving the glazing on windows and doors. Try to use energy-efficient cooling systems during heatwaves so as not to exacerbate the global warming issue. Planting trees or installing awnings can provide natural shade, reducing heat gain in your home.

  • Cold Snaps and Snow

Extreme cold weather and heavy snowfall can lead to a range of problems for homeowners, as demonstrated by The Beast from the East which hit the UK in spring 2018.

Prolonged frost can cause burst pipes if the water inside is affected, so keep heating running fairly frequently during snowy periods. You can also insulate pipes to help prevent bursting. Piles of snow on the roof can lead to long-term damage, so check and make necessary repairs as soon as the snow has gone. Keep grit, salt or sand on hand to prevent ice build-up on driveways and pathways.