As this August is presenting more of a fall feel than a dog days feel it reminds me that the opportunity to prepare the outside our homes for winter will soon end. I think it was Ben Franklin who said “A stitch in time saves nine.” That as super true when talking about getting our homes ready for winter. Taking care of some of the minor issues now can prevent major damage later.
Take a walk around the outside of your house. Especially look for the potential for water to get where it does not belong.
Failing caulk and paint. Especially around windows and doors and other joints.
Gaps between the house and concrete adjacent to it.
Failing weather stripping on doors and windows
Loose gutters and downspouts – downspouts not properly entering drain pipe.
Irregular loose missing roof shingles.
Shingles not extending over gutter or missing drip edge.
Leaking faucets (remember to disconnect your hose or even a freezeproof sillcock can freeze.!)
Ground sloping toward house instead of away.
If you had icicles or ice dams last year did you do anything about preventing it this year? Even if there was no evidence inside the house that the icicles and ice dams leaked into the house you would be wise to look to prevent them from occurring again. Water and ice will eventually cause problems if you let them.
If you haven’t already added insulation to your attic you cannot imagine the difference in comfort and utility bills this project will provide. I did it for my home last fall finally! My gas use went down quite a bit last winter. This is the first year I have had air conditioning so the only comparison I can make there is knowing that even on some of the warm days when I didn’t turn on the a/c my home stayed cooler inside than out. Last year some days my house was quite warm and uncomfortable.
If you are having your attic insulated make sure it is properly ventilated as inadequate ventilation is often a contributing factor to ice dam roof leaks and other premature failures of the roof. I have seen at least one roofing contractor install a ridge vent without providing an opening in the roof as needed to vent the attic.
This note is not a full review of everything you want to check on the outside of your house before winter comes; but it covers many of the most common problems I have seen. Hopefully you are forecasting to prevent unnecessary problems.