As winter quickly approaches, people in all areas of the country are making the necessary preparations to ensure that their homes and families remain safe and as comfortable as possible. For homeowners in the northeast, this is an especially important time of year for a handful of home maintenance checks. The cold temperatures and heavy snows can damage your roof, siding and windows if you’re not careful. Rather than being caught out in the cold, it is important to begin your inspection and maintenance on these vital areas of your home before the bitter cold hits.
The roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. It helps to protect you from high heat, bitter cold, pouring rain and even heavy snows. Snow and ice can wreak havoc on your roof and shingles if not properly managed. This can lead to warped rafters and trusses, as well as possible leaks, drafts and increased strain on your heating system. To ensure that you do not have excessive snow and ice build up during the winter, one of the main steps to take is to improve the ventilation in your attic. Appropriate attic ventilation will help air circulate in and out of your attic, which can help you avoid excessive snow and ice accumulation.
In addition to attic ventilation, you should also have your roof and gutters inspected for integrity. If your gutters become clogged, you may not have enough places for rain, snow and ice to go. Another common roof problem and one of the top causes for roofing leaks is flashing problems. Flashing can be found around the perimeter of your home, as well as around roof vents, chimneys and piping. During periods of high winds, your flashing can be loosened or torn off, leading to damaging leaks. By having your roof inspected before the winter season, you reduce your chances of facing extensive damage at the worst time possible.
Your windows are another important element of your home, especially during the winter. Before temperatures drop too low, you should inspect all of your windows to ensure that there are no breaks. You should then check the seal around each of your windows. Windows that are no longer sealed properly can lead to both air and moisture leaks that can damage your home and reduce your level of comfort. Simply sealing your windows each year with caulk can greatly improve the energy efficiency of your home, removing some of the load from your HVAC system.
If you find that sealing no longer works, you should consider replacing all or some of your windows with today’s energy efficient models that not only keep your home warmer when the winter chill is upon us, cooler in the hot summer sun, but new windows have better protection from the sun’s rays fading your furniture, rugs and drapes.
Similar to your roof, your siding is the first line of defense against the elements on the walls of your home. In addition to making your home look the way it does, siding serves to insulate our homes from extreme temperatures and protect us from any debris that winter storms may stir up. A pre-winter siding inspection should be an important step in every homeowners routine maintenance routine. When you are checking your siding, you should look for things such as loose siding, cracked chipped or broken siding, unwanted vegetation and proper sealant. In the case of many small cracks and areas that create thin gaps, you can often fix the problem with a bead of caulk. If the damage extends beyond this, however, you will want to call a professional to repair.
Readying Your Home for New England’s Harsh Winter
Our homes can take quite a beating during the winter, depending on the weather each particular year. During this time, these three components of our home work the hardest, and can lead to some of the most notable effects if damage is present. Save yourself from costly, untimely repairs and improve your home’s energy efficiency and comfort level by performing a full inspection each year as part of your fall maintenance routine.