Guest Post by Jakob Barry
It has been a particularly brutal winter in many parts of the country so far and it’s not over yet. Here are some good reminders to help keep your home in shape when severe weather strikes
Drafts are the bane of indoor heating and probably the most difficult thing to catch when you’re not looking. As most heating contractors will tell you the key is finding them now before the cold weather arrives. Otherwise you’ll lose out financially when the heating system is working over time trying to compensate for all the lost heat. How do you find a draft? Wait for a breezy day and holding a lit candle move it around the interior frames of windows and doors. If the flame flickers and it wasn’t from your own breathe chances are there is a draft which needs to be tended to. When drafts are detected the easiest way to seal them is by caulking on the outside and if necessary on the interior too.
Inspect Doors & Windows
Sometimes drafts are part of a more serious problem such as a window or door not working properly, which all the caulking in the world won’t fix. Examples include when windows don’t sit level, cannot be shut correctly, or don’t lock. The same is true for doors which may shut but need a kick, do not close snug with the frame, or have a space between the floor and base of the door. In all of these cases cool air can easily enter a home competing with the thermostat when it’s trying to maintain a certain temperature.
Believe it or not gutters are one of the most important parts of a home’s exterior because without them rain water would have nowhere to go except rushing down the sides of a house. Even though this still occurs, with the help of gutters the flow of water running down siding and over windows and doors is less. Problems occur when gutters get clogged from leaves and branches that may have fallen into them resulting in an overflow and sometimes leakage through a roof. In order to prevent such damage cleaning out gutters is a necessary pre-winter job that can be done on your own though only if you are comfortable on a ladder. Make sure access to down spouts are clear and if possible put wiring over the top of gutters so if anything falls on them it can be removed easily.
Check For Water Damage
Preventing water damage is one thing; checking for previous damage is another. If you haven’t been in the attic or crawl space lately find some time to go up there and take a look around. What you’ll want to inspect for is any discoloring on the inside paneling and ceiling, which will be a sign of a leak or past leak that needs attention. Sometimes this occurs from shingles which have dislodged from bad weather. Occasionally the nails that hold them down loosen creating a space for water to seep in. Around the chimney is another area of concern, as sometimes the flashing needs repair and water leaks through cracks where the bricks meet the roof. This may require hiring a professional who knows exactly what to do but if you must, don’t wait. Water damage is not something to take lightly because it could turn very costly if it becomes a larger issue.