School has started. The leaves are turning and winter is just around the corner. Before the cold and snow settle in, you should prepare your home for winter with these easy but important autumn chores.
Roof and Gutters
- Examine the roof for broken or missing shingles. If the shingles are curling, buckling or cracking, replace them. If your roof shows damage from summer storms, heat or ice damage from winters past, it might be time to replace the entire roof.
- Check the flashing around skylights, pipes and chimneys. If there are any leaks or gaps, heavy snow and ice will find its way into your home. Check ridge vents and make sure they are clear of obstructions.
- Check gutters to be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place. Clean gutters, downspouts and splash blocks. Once the debris has been removed, flush the gutters with water from a hose.
- Make sure all drainage areas are clear of leaves and debris, and that the water drains properly and doesn't pool.
Doors and Windows
- Time, changes in temperature and humidity and normal usage can cause window seals to crack and shrink.
- Check your windows and doors inside and out for leaks and drafts. Install weather stripping, repair or replace damaged storm windows.
- Remove screens, clean and repair them before putting them away for the winter.
- Now might be the right time to think about remodeling your windows and upgrade to a new, energy efficient style of window that will keep you and your family warmer and save money on heating and cooling bills.
Foundation, Attic and Insulation
- Check your attic to make sure the insulation is adequate and installed properly. Make sure your home has the recommended level of insulation for your zone. Insulation levels are specified by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of insulation's ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value is, the better the thermal performance of the insulation.
- Add insulation if your home needs more. To install attic insulation, unroll the insulation with the paper side out. Place small pieces of insulation between the joists on the attic floor. The vapor barrier on insulation should face down toward the living space. Cut slits in the vapor barrier to allow moisture to escape.
- When cooler weather sets in, various animals and rodents will look for a way into your home through the foundation or attic. Check for gaps or holes in your attic or foundation that would allow entry into your home.
- Keep pests out of your attic by installing screen material behind gable vents.