Winter can cause a lot of damage to a home, especially if you have not taken some basic steps to winterize it. The cold weather damage can be expensive and a pain-in-the-you-know-what to fix. Think ahead this year and plan a fall strategy to winterize your home. When the days start getting colder, you’ll be happy you did.

Go Over Your Home Inspection Report

If a home inspection has been done, find it and review the problems that your home inspector flagged. A well-written and comprehensive report will cover everything from general maintenance suggestions to major repairs. Budget your time and money accordingly, targeting the problem areas that will worsen as the weather turns. Nipping these home issues in the bud will save you the stress and money of having to deal with an emergency situation in the dead of winter.

Clean Out Gutters & Drains*

Fall leaves are a beautiful sight to behold…until they end up clogging your drains and gutters. Free flowing gutters allow rain water to drain away properly. The water in clogged gutters will freeze during a cold winter’s day, not only damaging the gutters but ultimately resulting in water backing-up and entering the home.

In the warmer months, clogged drains allow water to build up which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other unwanted bugs.

Insulate Your Windows

Windows can be one of the most obvious places where you can feel drafts and cold air getting into your home. The least expensive option is to buy a window insulator kit. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing choice, but it will significantly help reduce these drafts and will also reduce your heating costs. The other option is to completely replace your windows. The upfront cost can be frighteningly high, but the return on investment is significant. Consider replacing your windows in stages while insulating the rest of them with an inexpensive kit.

Check your Attic*

Most people shudder at the idea of checking their attic.  If you are afraid of going in there, call an inspector to do a thorough analysis.  There will be a cost to having your attic inspected, but the solutions presented will often far outweigh the upfront cost.  Items, like upgrading your insulation, or making sure you have sufficient ventilation, will be extremely beneficial in the long run.  Believe it or not, but the attic is an extremely important part of your house.  Adequate ventilation and insulation are absolutely paramount to having a properly functioning house.

If you aren’t afraid to take a look in the attic, make sure that you are wearing the correct safety gear.  Items like a helmet, safety glasses, respirator mask, proper footwear and outerwear are necessary when going into an attic.  This is especially the case as many older homes potentially have asbestos in the insulation, or could even have mold issues. You want to keep an eye out for any damp spots in the insulation. In many cases, the insulation will slightly change colour when wet.

Another critical issue is ventilation.  You want airflow going from the base of your roof to the peak.  There are typically two types of vents that allow air to circulate in your attic.  The first type is called a soffit vent and is located underneath the roof overhang.  Make sure all insulation is free and clear of the soffits so air can enter the attic through the soffit vents.  The other type of vent is normally located at the ridge of the roof.  Make sure that these have been properly cut in and aren’t being blocked in any way.

As always, if something looks wrong, consult an expert immediately.  Do not leave these issues unattended as they can cause serious problems down the road.

WARNING: Climbing on a roof can be dangerous and can result in serious injury or death. Wet roofs are very slippery and should not be climbed on under any circumstances. Penfold’s Roofing does not recommend that any person climbs onto a roof without expert training and while making full use of appropriate fall protection equipment. Working off a ladder is likewise to be avoided. The following is a guideline only.

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