It’s that time of year again when sweaters, boots, and hats are coming out of storage to bear the winter weather. Preparing your house for the snow, rain and wind is just as important. Before heading into the cold season take the time to do some preventive winter maintenance on your home. Prevention is much easier and cost efficient than treating a problem during the height of the season.
- Inspect Insulation. Adding insulation in your attic is the best way to prevent ice dams. When heat escapes into your attic, due to poor insulation, it warms up the ice and snow sitting on your roof. If it refreezes, it can cause an ice dam, which can create water damage from leaks or in severe cases collapse your roof. Insulation is the first line of defense against freezing temperatures and strong winds; it is important to inspect and upgrade your insulation where necessary to prevent further damage to your home. Ensure that your pipes are wrapped as well to prevent freezing and bursting.
- Evaluate your roof. Another way to prevent the formation of ice dams is to do a thorough inspection of your roof. During the evaluation, specifically look for cracks in the roof itself as well as the siding. Replace any damaged shingles or panels. Leaks during the blizzard months can quickly turn into major home issues so hire a licensed professional if need be or review our article on How to Hire the Best Roofing Contractor.
- Clean your gutters. Clear your gutters of leaves, sticks, and any other debris that could block melting ice and snow from draining properly. Do this at least twice during the fall as leaves tend to build up at different rates during the changing of the season. Also make sure your gutter’s downspouts are directing water away from the foundation of your house.
- Trim the trees around your house. Trim your trees and any dead branches that could potentially damage your home or injure someone. Branches get weighed down by snow and ice during the winter months and can become a major hazard to any roof or gutter nearby. Its best to take care of long branches near your home during the fall months.
- Test your central heating system. Before winter actually begins and you need to turn on your central heating system, give it a test run. Consider hiring a licensed technician to perform the test, it is far more expensive for them to make a house visit during an emergency situation.
- Clean your fireplace. Routine cleaning is a safety measure for any wood-burning fire place or stove due to the buildup of creosote (from past fires) inside the chimney walls. These cleanings are best performed by a certified chimney sweep. Gas fireplaces should also be cleaned to check for any debris, like an old bird’s nest, from blocking the chimney.
- Check your supplies and equipment. The first winter storm can arrive quickly and sometimes without notice. Check your key equipment, such as generators and snow blowers, for service and any needed repairs to ensure they are working properly before you need them. Make sure you have items like snow shovels, roof rakes, and ice salt on hand. Remove snow as quickly as possible after storms.
By completing these preventive measures before the harsh winter begins, your winter home maintenance will be stress free for you and your family. If you encounter any emergency situations during the winter months, EMA construction’s qualified roofers and staff are here to assist you.