Winter has officially started on the solstice calendar and soon the weather will follow. Here in Northeast Ohio, it is best to be prepared for these harsh elements as they can take a toll on our homes. In this 4 part series we will take a look at 10 important steps to take on both the inside and the outside of your home. In this first article, we will look at 5 exterior tasks that should be on your winter checklist.
Examine Your Roof
Get up on your roof, get the binoculars out or hire an expert to evaluate your roof. You want to be looking for loose, damaged or missing shingles that may lead to leaking during a winter’s storm or from the snow melting on your roof. Obviously, it is better to repair these issues prior to the first winter storm. If you have shingles that need repaired, hire an expert to replace the few that need repaired or a section that needs replace. It would also be a good idea to have them check the flashing around your chimney or vents while there are on your roof.
Clean Your Gutters
Although it is not a favorite task for many, cleaning your gutters can prevent a lot of damage to your home. If your gutters are filled with debris of leaves and sticks, the water (melted snow) cannot drain away properly. If water backs up, it can cause roof, siding or trim damage. If this is a daunting task, or you have to hire someone every year, consider having gutter protection put on your gutters. Gutter protection will keep out the debris and allow the water to drain properly year after year.
Turn Off Outside Water Spouts
Water in your pipes may freeze during the winter months. Once the water is frozen, it could expand enough to cause your pipes to burst. This can be prevented by draining the water in the outside spouts. If you do not have frost proof faucets, then turn off the water valve inside your home.
Examine the Outside Walls
Take a walk around your home and inspect and seal as needed. Make sure to look not only around doors and windows but around exterior water faucets, electrical wiring and utility cables.
Check Storm Doors and Windows
Look over your storm doors, make sure that they are operating smoothly and are still sealing well within the door frame. Most storm doors have automatic closers; make sure your stopper is all the way to the end of the track so the door will close all the way. Your storm door may also have a weatherstrip on the bottom, check this once a year to prevent drafts. Take a look at your storm windows; make sure they are in the proper position for maximum energy savings. It might also be time to consider replacement windows to lower the cost of your energy bills year round.
In the next part (part 2) of this series, we will examine 5 interior maintenance projects to keep your home running smoothly throughout the winter.
photo credit: Claire Louise @ http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Winter_g147-Snow_Holly_p30528.html