Our winter isn’t like everyone else’s. For one thing, it starts in June. And while a few parts of Australia do experience snow, the rest of us get three months of heavy rain. So while the rest of the world winterises with salt and de-icing, our prep is more related to staying dry and keeping out the mud. The overall plan is to keep the house warm and moisture-free.
Get a fireplace
This isn’t essential, but it can be a nice touch, and it’s a good excuse for some home renovations. It’s likely you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors, so family time by the fire can be a nice bonding session. Pro-tip, have it installed somewhere near the TV. Modern furnaces don’t necessarily have to be wood-fuelled, and you don’t need a mantel with a chimney. You can buy fireplace inserts that sit right inside the wall.
Contemporary fireplaces can be powered by electricity or gas, so they don’t have to be messy. But despite their updated power sources, they can still be styled to look traditional, with realistic looking-flames that crackle and spit, and glass viewing panels that offer burning beds of crystals, faux logs, or artificial driftwood.
Check for leaks
While the rest of the world worries about being snowed in, we’re more likely to have our floors and furnishings soaked. Towards the end of May, call in a roof plumber to do a professional roof inspection. They’re skilled at spotting and resolving leaks, and it’s a far better idea than waiting for the droplets to seep through.
Getting your roof inspection before winter begins could save you money as well. Dry-season roof repairs are safer and cheaper, because the water damage is less and there’s a lower risk of your roofer slipping on wet materials and hurting themselves. It also avoids the peak fee of emergency repairs because once the rain starts, everyone will be calling them.
Reinforce your windows
During the rainy season, you’ll find yourself doing a lot of window cleaning, because of the constant droplets. You might give up and wait until the season is over to resume paying attention to your glass. An easy solution is to install roller shutters. They offer protection from rain and cold weather, because they are waterproof and fully insulated.
Roller shutters have aluminium panels on the outside, with insulating foam in-between. This doubles as a heating feature since it keeps out the cold and keeps in the warmth, lowering your utility bills. Roller shutters are also a security feature, because once you’ve pulled them down, engaged the latch, and snapped on the lock, burglars can’t get in. It’s helpful because criminals sometimes use the noisy rain to mask their breaking-and-entering.
Buy wellies and umbrellas
We might not need earmuffs, gloves, or layers of coats, but we probably need gum boots and umbrellas. Shop early, before the rush raises prices. Gum boots come in cheerful stylish designs, so it doesn’t have to compromise your fashion sense. And buy more umbrellas than you need, because they’ll inevitably be forgotten at work or borrowed by house guests.
It might also be a good idea to install a foot bath just outside your main door, so that residents and visitors can clean their feet on their way in. Have it linked to your water heater so at least there’s warm water available, and have dark-coloured towels on hand. Make sure the towels are plentiful since you may have to wash and dry them every day.
Review your water storage system
If you have an above-ground rain water tank, inspect it for leaks and have it drained and cleaned. Ask the roof plumber to clean and re-align your gutters while they’re up there looking for leaks. In case you don’t have a tank yet, call a local tank supplier and get some advice. They can guide you on whether you need something underground, or whether it’s worth investing in a storm drain or detention tank.
While you’re at it, audit your home for inadvertent storage spots as well. Your yard may have upturned toys, old buckets, or broken tins that could retain water and harbour mosquitoes and other pests. If there are areas that attract puddles, flatten them or lay trenches to lead the water away. Follow these suggestions to winterise your home – Aussie style.