Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and according to Jimmy the Groundhog (who resides in Sun Prairie, WI) we’re in for an early spring! That said, it’s not too late to take the initiative and winterize your home, if you haven’t already done so.
The following tips are all geared toward helping you winterize the exterior of your home. Let’s get started …
CLEAN OUT YOUR GUTTERS
With the warm weather we’ve been having the past few days, you may be noticing your gutters are not draining properly. If they’re clear of snow and ice, here’s what you can do (or hire someone to do) right now to get them working better …
Remove any debris from the gutters — like leaves, sticks and even asphalt roof granules — to help gutters remove water from melting snow or rain, instead of spilling over the side of the gutters. It’s also important to check your downspouts to ensure they are draining properly. We’ve had customers who didn’t clean their gutters for a few years, and when they called us for help the drain pipes were completely clogged!
Another thing you can do is install gutter guards. The ones we recommend, and install for homeowners, are Master Shield, and you can get a good idea of how they work here.
SECURE YOUR WINDOWS & DOORS THAT LEAD OUTSIDE
Check for drafts, gapping, or any signs of damage. Drafts are one of many signs that you may need new windows or doors, and if you’re noticing any of the warning signs it might be a good idea to have an expert take a look to see what’s going on. If you do have a professional stop by, just keep in mind that you should never have to pay for an estimate, plus the contractor should be happy to answer any questions you have, provide all warranty information in writing — and they should never try to pressure sell you.
A short-term solution is to simply use something like window insulation kits (plastic coverings) and to use things like door sweeps or weatherstripping. These don’t remove the problem, but they are inexpensive short-term solutions.
TRIM YOUR TREES
Trim any branches that are close to, or touching, your roof. Once snow and ice get on them they can sag and potentially cause damage. Removal of dead branches is important, too, as they are more likely to simply break off with the added weight of snow and ice.
WEATHERPROOF THOSE OUTDOOR PIPES
Have exterior pipes around your home? Weatherproof them so they don’t freeze. Another tactic is to make sure you turn the water feeds to these pipes off before cold weather sets in. This is an easy, quick way to avoid problems down the road. Nobody wants the water hose pipe to freeze and potentially cause pipe issues IN the home, which can lead to a lot of damage.
REPAIR DAMAGED HANDRAILS & STEPS
Things like loose handrails and cracked steps can be hazardous anytime of year. During the winter months, paired with snow and ice, they can be incredibly dangerous. Get them fixed ASAP.
We hope these five tips on how to winterize your home prove helpful, and that Jimmy the Groundhog is correct about an early spring — either way, these tips can go a long way in protecting your home from the elements for the remainder of the winter.
If you need help with an exterior home project, or simply have questions, feel free to get in touch with us anytime!