Pre-Winter Checklist: Protecting Your Home’s Exterior
Winter weather can wreak havoc on your home’s exterior if you don’t protect it before winter arrives. Fortunately, with a few quick steps, you can preserve your home’s beauty and prevent extensive damage. The right steps may even help you lower your heating costs, saving you money in the long run.
Inspect the Roof
Check your roof for any loose shingles or holes and get them fixed up. Make sure your attic has enough insulation to keep the heat in your home. It’s important to fix any problems right away to avoid leaks and damage.
Drain your Faucets
Before fall is over, drain all outdoor faucets and hoses. Don’t forget sprinkler systems too. Any water left inside the pipes can freeze, causing the pipes to burst. Once you drain all faucets, disconnect any removable hoses and cover your faucets with insulators. This keeps everything warm and avoids frozen pipes.
Clean your Gutters
Throughout the summer and fall months, leaves and debris likely clog up your gutters. If left there, they leave no room for water to drain, which in cold weather leads to ice dams. Ice dams can cause roofs to leak, gutters to collapse, and even water damage inside the home. Remove as much as you can now and add gutter guards to keep further debris out.
Cut Tree Branches
Take a look around your property. Are there low hanging trees or branches that look threatening? Think about what would happen with a little snow on them. Would they pose a threat to your roof or car? Trim whatever you can yourself or call a professional to take care of the trees to remove the threat.
Check your Windows and Doors
Even the smallest leak can cause your utility bills to skyrocket. Take a match around each window. If it flickers or blows out while you stand there, you have a leak. Add weather stripping or caulking to the offending windows to reduce energy leaks and eliminate the risk of water leaks/damage inside your home.
Check your Siding
Walk around your home and look for any weak areas in the siding. If snow can sneak through the siding, it gets into your home and causes water damage. Cracks, dents, or rotting all weaken siding, making it difficult to keep the snow or ice out. Have professionals fix the area before winter arrives.
Check your Paint
Inspect your home’s paint too. Even though chipped or scratched paint may not look threatening, it could be. When left untouched, it leads to weekend areas which can cause rotting or water leakage. If the wood underneath has already been damaged, you may need it replaced before winter.
Take Care of Lawn and Garden
Don’t forget about your lawn and garden! Use winter fertilizer and mulch to protect your plants and wrap young trees or shrubs in burlap to shield them from the snow and ice. This helps your garden stay healthy through the winter.
Can Snow Accumulation Damage the Roof?
Yes! Heavy snow can indeed stress your roof. It’s especially important to remove snow after a heavy snowfall to avoid any potential damage. There are roof rakes designed for this, but in cases of excessive snow, you may want to call a professional.
How Do I Check for Drafts in Doors?
A simple way is to hold a lighted candle or incense stick close to the door seams. If the smoke moves or the flame flickers, there may be a draft. Consider adding weatherstripping or a door sweep to seal these leaks.
How Often Should I Inspect My Home’s Exterior Paint?
It’s good practice to inspect your exterior paint annually. Look out for peeling, cracking, or chipping, as these can expose the underlying material to the elements, potentially leading to damage.
How Can I Protect My Outdoor Plants During Winter?
Use burlap wraps for sensitive shrubs and trees, and apply mulch around the base of plants to provide extra insulation to the roots. This helps in protecting them from freezing temperatures and frost heaves.
Do Gutter Guards Eliminate the Need for Gutter Cleaning?
Not entirely. While gutter guards can reduce the amount of debris entering the gutters, it’s still essential to inspect and clean them regularly to ensure proper water flow and to prevent ice dams.
When Should You Start?
Start now protecting your home’s exterior. Throughout the fall, continue to remove any debris, but have professionals inspect your roof and gutters to make sure they can handle a hefty winter. We never know what winter will throw at us and if you want your home to stay intact and look just as beautiful on the other side of winter, start now protecting it.
It takes a little work and money now, but it pays off in the end as you don’t have to pay for major or emergency repairs during the winter months.