Habitat Repairs Team Offers DIY Fall and Winter Home Preparation Tips

Fall is quickly approaching, which is a good time to make sure you are preparing for the wet and cold months ahead. Some major items to consider are your roof, gutters, heating systems, and landscaping.

If it is not safe to clean the roof yourself, there are plenty of companies that provide roof cleaning services in the $300 – $500 range. Make sure you request that they check for any issues including missing shingles, soft spots, areas where water might penetrate the roof, etc.

shingle roof damage

These roof cleaning services will generally also provide gutter cleaning. Aside from the roof, gutters are a critical component in protecting your home from water damage, especially here in the Pacific Northwest where we see a high volume of rain during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. If your gutters are clogged, they may back up and allow water to run down the siding of your home causing damage, or they may allow water to pool in low spots on your roof which can eventually lead to a costly roof leak. While clearing your gutters of debris, you should also check to make sure they are not leaking. Make sure the downspouts are firmly connected to the gutter and that they are sealed and water tight.

Gutter cleaning

Gutters can also leak on a longer run where two sections of gutter are joined together. To seal leaking connections, use a polymer or urethane-based caulk that will remain flexible and water tight, and can be painted over. You can use silicone-based caulk, but it will not allow you to paint over it (if you have painted gutters) and can be harder to remove if you need to apply more caulk later. Lastly, ensure that your gutters are draining water away from the foundation of your home. Some gutters will tie in to a drainage system, and some will simply direct water to drain downslope from your home. If your gutters are beyond repair, it is time to replace them. For an average sized home, you can expect to spend between $1000 and $1800 for new gutters.

Now is also a good time to check your heating system, whether that’s a furnace, ductless heat pump, baseboard heaters, fireplace, or wood burning stove, and make sure they are in good working order. Furnaces should be serviced annually, especially if they are older.

furnace filter

Common things to check would be the air filter, the pilot light, and the fan. If your fireplace is your primary source of heat, make sure you have it cleaned and inspected, and do the same for a wood burning stove. If you have a ductless heat pump, make sure it has appropriate space around it and that airflow is unobstructed – this includes the checking the cabinet for the outside unit (ensuring it is free and clear of leaves and debris), cleaning the air filter once a month, checking the unit for any leaking, and also hainge it serviced by a technician annually.

Lastly, you should walk around your property and ensure that any big trees that may be hanging over your house don’t have dead limbs. These can break and fall on your roof, damage the side of your home, or land on a car. If you can’t safely reach dead limbs it’s best to call an arborist or tree company to remove the limbs. If any trees look unhealthy in general, you should consult an arborist.