Preparing Your Home For Winter: Inside & Out
Unlike its seasonal counterpart, spring cleaning, fall maintenance is not always met with a high level of enthusiasm. Perhaps autumn's brisk winds whisk homeowners' smiles away, or maybe crisp leaves don't cultivate excitement like blooming flowers. Whatever the reason, fall chores are more easily overlooked than those related to spring.
While we recognize that warm weather is preferable to cold, homeowners should approach both spring and fall tasks with the same vigor. Although carving pumpkins may seem like your highest priority, it is also time for some fall maintenance to get your home ready for winter.
1. The Roof
The brunt of weather abuse is taken by your roof in the form of snow and ice. To check your roof you are going to need a ladder, a pair of binoculars, or a trusted roofing expert. If access is at all unsafe or difficult, or if getting up on a roof just isn't your thing, contact a local roofing professional and they'll take a look for you. If you have a sloped roof, look for shingles that are cracked, curled, loose, damaged, or missing. Once located, repair or replace them. If you have a flat roof, clean off leaves and branches, and cut back overhanging tree limbs. Watch for low spots where water will pond. Look for bulges, worn spots, or split seams on the membrane. Regardless of your roof type, pay attention to the junctions between the roof and the chimneys, pipes, and walls. Often you'll find that metal flashings need to be re-secured or re-caulked. Again, if it's damaged, fix it as soon as possible.
If you can access the roof safely, take a look at the chimney. Brick chimneys may have loose or missing mortar and loose or damaged bricks, and should have a screen to keep animals out. Metal chimneys should be free from rust and should have a rain cap.
2. Eavestroughs and Downspouts
While at roof level, be sure to clean and re-secure the eavestroughs. We can't overemphasize the importance of free-flowing, leak-free eavestroughs and downspouts. If your eavestroughs can't control the rain or melting snow, the ground will get saturated. If the ground is soaked around your house, there is a much higher risk of a leaky basement. You should also follow the downspouts to ground level to check where they dump the water. Above-g