The first winter storms hit the United States early this year, and with them came the storm conditions that can wreak havoc on homes – but there’s still time to minimize potential damage. Get your home ready for tough weather in the coming months with these four simple steps. As the saying goes, “a stitch in time, saves nine,” and clean gutters can save a roof. Preventing damage is the best way to protect your home.
Check Your Gutters
During the fall months, leaves, twigs, and dirt pile up in the gutters, leaving them heavy and clogged, and when cold weather sets in, water can freeze in the gutter. Before the winter snows start, then, take a weekend to clean out the gutters so that they will be able to drain properly and install screens along the tops to prevent more debris from landing in the gutters. This will prevent ice from forming in the blocked gutters, which can pull them away from and even off of your house, requiring them to be replaced.
Study The Siding
Typically, vinyl siding is long-lasting, and it shouldn’t need to be replaced more often than every ten years – and especially high-quality siding can last as long as fifty years. Still, as we all know, sometimes even quality items fail, which is why you should give your siding a pre-winter examination, checking for cracks, dents, and buckling. All of these can indicate an underlying problem with the siding and indicate it needs to be repaired., and if you wait for further snow and ice exposure, your home may suffer interior damage.
The good news is that if you can identify weather-related damage to your siding, such as water infiltration or hail damage, your homeowner’s insurance will likely pay for the repairs. You can’t be faulted for weather-related damage, but you can be faulted for improper home maintenance.
Trim The Trees
Never mind decorating Christmas trees, the most important trees you can trim during the winter months are the ones around your home. During the winter, long tree branches are prone to becoming weighed down with ice and snow, and may break off and damage your roof or even fall on your car. Prune your trees early and be on the lookout for dead branches or entire dead trees. If you notice any, consider contacting an arborist to properly remove the tree, and consider bundling your home and car insurance to get a lower rate and protect both against weather-related damage.
Cap The Chimney
Finally, while winter is the perfect time to gather around the fireplace, don’t light that kindling until you’ve had your chimney serviced. A trained professional should clean the flue, check the brickwork to ensure it isn’t leaky, and make sure the cap is fitted properly so that animals can’t nest inside your chimney or climb down into the house. A properly maintained chimney can also reduce the risk of a friendly fire turning into a five-alarm blaze.
We all want to retreat somewhere warm and dry during the cold winter months, but it takes proper maintenance to keep your home that way. If you pay attention to the fine details and act preemptively, though, you can enjoy the darkest days of the year by the light of a cozy fire, worry-free.