Protecting Your Home from Old Man Winter
As I wipe sweat from my brow for the upteenth time this summer, I have to remind myself that very soon our scorched green tree leaves will begin to turn to reveal their autumn shades, and the air will finally cool into a reasonable temperature.
Fall is just around the corner, and that can only mean one thing–Autumn Exterior Maintenance, of course!
You may be tempted to let your home exterior guard down this autumn, but you mustn’t give in! Old man winter’s ugly-self is right around the corner. A little work today goes a long way to ensuring your home is able to stand up to anything and everything winter can throw at it.
“A little work today goes a long way to ensuring your home is able to stand up to anything and everything winter can throw at it.”
Along with many other home maintenance tasks, picking the right time to clean your gutters can ensure they last a long life, while minimizing other damage. You should be cleaning your gutters about twice a year–once in the spring, and once in the fall.
One of the perks to cleaning your gutters in the beginning of fall is that your leaves will still be dry and easier to remove. Then when it does rain or snow, the water will flow freely through the gutter and into the downspout ensuring little-to-no damage to the gutter. Also, because there is no debris to be washed into the downspout, this will not become clogged, making it easier to clean it out. Cleaning the gutters in early spring will again prepare it for directing the water brought in by Nebraska’s torrential spring downpours.
While you clean your gutters, be sure to take the time you need to examine their condition. If the gutter is coming loose, take note so that you can re-fix it to the side of your roof. However, if the wear and tear along with stagnant water has caused rusting and major damage, it’s probably time to replace the gutter. Older gutters made of iron are prone to rusting and should be replaced with aluminum or other gutters that are rust proof. This will not only make it easier to clean the gutter later on, but enhance the curb appeal of your home.
Begin your fall siding maintenance by inspecting exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings. Peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Left uncorrected, your siding will begin to deteriorate, which leads to expensive repairs. Lower humidity and cooler temperatures make fall a good time to paint or repaint the exterior of your home.
Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Use caulk to fill the holes or completely replace the wood.
Weather-strip your garage door. Make sure the seal between your garage door and the ground is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals.
Check the attic to make sure your insulation is properly installed. The vapor barrier on insulation should face down toward the living space. If installed correctly, then the insulation will trap moisture causing possible water problems. Cut slits in the vapor barrier to allow moisture to escape. To install attic insulation, unroll the insulation with the paper side out. Install small pieces of insulation between the joists on the attic floor.
You can ensure that your roof is in tip-top shape by first inspecting for missing and loose shingles. Ice, rain, snow and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs. Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. Without it functioning properly, water damage can occur. This causes deterioration to insulation, wood and drywall, making electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems vulnerable. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm. Also, check the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. If you have any leaks or gaps, heavy snow and ice will find its way in. For safety’s sake, have a licensed, certified roofing professional check the condition of your roof.
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