Follow these simple steps to protect your house and property to stay warm and dry this winter.
The first areas to check are the roof and gutters. If you are not comfortable with heights or ladders hire a professional to do this type of work.
Make sure that the gutters are clean. Are they sloped correctly and are the downpipes connected and not loose? Checking the slope of gutters is easy as water will accumulate in the incorrectly sloped areas. Remove all debris from the gutters as well as from the roof.
The roof should be free of debris and moss. If you have moss growing on your roof have it removed by a professional as moss growth will degrade most roofing materials and can impede drainage, particularly in valleys. If your roof is flat, annual cleaning is important as debris tends to accumulate quickly here particularly at drains. Beware of pressure washing; many materials, such as cedar shake and asphalt shingles in particular, will be damaged by this method of cleaning. Sweeping a roof is effective; however moss, algae and lichens may have to be sprayed to kill them. Adding zinc strips to the ridges of the roof is also effective in most cases and should be installed by a professional.
Take a close look at the outside walls of your house. Are there any gaps around doors, windows, light fixtures, or cracks and gaps in your siding? Any openings in the wall are a potential source of water penetration and require caulking. Caulking is more difficult to apply in colder temperatures so early application makes the job easier. Most caulking requires painting after it dries for UV protection so caulking and painting of the house are generally done at the same time. This late in the season may not be the best time to paint your house, but caulking any gaps and cracks now will help prevent damage caused by wind and driving rain in the coming months. The weather stripping around doors must be replaced as it degrades to prevent drafts and heat-loss. Weather stripping usually lasts 1 to 5 years depending on the location of the door and its exposure to the elements.
For warmth and comfort, make sure your heating system is in good shape. Yearly servicing is recommended to ensure reliability and efficient fuel consumption from your furnace or boiler. Replace the furnace filters annually. If you have an older system consider upgrading to a high efficiency system as it will save fuel cost in the long run and rebates seem to be available almost continuously through various providers.
Take care of the air quality. Check to make sure your Smoke Detectors are working properly and consider adding a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector if you haven’t already got one. Plug in models are readily available at building supplies stores. With windows closed in the months ahead indoor air quality can easily become compromised. Regular use of bathroom and kitchen fans will further ventilate your home.
Having done all this work allows you to feel more secure in your house when the wind is blowing and the rain seems never ending. The only thing left to do now is sit in front of the fire with your favourite drink and check out the latest travel magazine.