Protect Your Home in the Face of Climate Change
Wildfires, storms, floods, and other severe weather events brought on by global warming are happening with increasing regularity, and the consequences are serious for certain types of buildings.
Building codes are slowly adapting to this new reality, however, most existing homes are not built to withstand such severe weather. So keep your eyes open to detect any risks and correct them as quickly as possible.
If you’re planning repairs and renovations you should consider:
- reviewing current systems with more stringent resistance and performance criteria and taking necessary corrective actions; and
- opting for heavier-duty materials and employing best practices during the actual work.
Follow these suggestions to protect your home from climate change-related natural disasters.
Water damage can be costly and difficult to repair, sometimes compromising the very foundation of your house.
- Consider installing a sump pump and a backwater valve to protect from sewer overflow and water main breaks
- Relocate expensive appliances to a higher floor.
- Raise electrical sockets above typical flood levels.
- Replace wood or laminate floors on the ground and basement levels with cement flooring.
- Keep sandbags on hand in case you need to quickly build a barrier against rising water.
Tornados and Wind Storms
Roof, siding and windows are most prone to damage from high winds, so focus your efforts there.
- Check for loose shingles and siding and repair as necessary.
- Use hurricane straps to reinforce the roof. Hurricane straps are made from steel and anchor the roof to the walls of the house. This low-cost solution significantly reduces the chance of roof damage.
- Wind whipping around the home due to broken windows can create pressure on the roof from the inside of the home. Install hurricane shutters on windows and sliding glass doors to make your home as air-tight as possible.
- Remove and secure anything that can be picked up and carried by wind, such as outdoor furniture, toys and appliances.
- Prune branches that pose a threat if they were to snap.
Fire needs fuel to burn and spreads through travelling embers so the guiding principle of wildfire protection is to minimize anything flammable.
- A fire-resistant roof is one of the best lines of defense against a spreading fire. Roofs made out of metal, asphalt and clay materials are your best bet. Wood-shingled roofs pose a higher risk but may be treated with additional materials to minimize it - speak to a roofing professional about your options. Whatever type of roof you have, inspect it often for missing shingles and repair accordingly.
- Create a 10-metre defensible space around your property free of flammable material. Clean up pine needles, shrubs, dry leaves, firewood and mulch. Don’t forget to look under the deck and in the gutters and be sure to move propane tanks and gas canisters off your property, if possible.
- Keep grass short and watered. Trim tree branches a minimum of two meters off the ground.
- To keep embers out, seal windows and doors and install fine mesh over any vents.
- Encourage your neighbours to follow similar measures to minimize the chances of the fire spreading from roof to roof.
CAA Québec – Renovation and maintenance: what climate change means for your home’s “armour”
Government of Canada – severe storm – what to do?
The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks of Aviva plc. and are used under licence by Aviva Canada Inc. and its subsidiary companies.