The 2 Most Important Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Winter
Winter doesn’t officially start until December 21, but for most of the country Thanksgiving marks the true end of fall. With snow falling or about to fall over much of the country, there are two important outdoor tasks you need to take care of to ensure your house is safe and snug for the winter — and won’t require expensive repairs come springtime.
- Cleaning Out Gutters
Gutters should ideally be cleaned at least twice a year, but the most important time to take care of this task is in late fall, since falling leaves (especially if you have deciduous trees close to your house) can clog gutters and downspouts. This isn’t just a matter of annoyance when cold water pours over the side of gutters instead of draining as it’s supposed to; gutters are part of the structural integrity of the home. If the downspouts are clogged, water can take the path of least resistance, meaning that it will often end up coming into your house through walls and ceilings. And even if the water overflows the sides of the gutters straight to the ground, it can damage the foundation of your home (since downspouts are specifically placed for optimum drainage away from the house).
Cleaning out gutters can be a backbreaking task, especially if it’s left until cold weather has already set in. There are special gutter cleaning tools that can make the task easier — or you can do yourself a favor and simply hire a handyman to take care of it. If it’s already icy out, it may even be a safety issue, since you don’t want to be working with ladders or balancing on the roof.
- Getting a Roof Inspection
It’s a good idea to make sure your roof is in good condition before winter (and depending on your roofing warranty, annual or semi-annual inspections may be required). A professional will know what to look for: cracked or rusting flashing, curling shingles, lichen and stains that indicate mold or decay, and more.
Preventive maintenance almost always ends up saving money in the long run, and this principle certainly applies to your roof; you’ll pay a little for an inspection, but it’s nothing compared to the cost of repairing or replacing a roof. If well taken care of, roofs can last for decades, so yours is a substantial investment worth protecting. The good news is that it’s often cost-effective to schedule a gutter cleaning and roof inspection simultaneously with a full-service roofing company.
What else besides cleaning out gutters and inspecting the roof do you recommend to get a house ready for winter? Share your tips in the comments.