6 Steps to Keep Your House Safe and Sealed
Snow, wind, ice, rain.
Winter’s best friends are these extreme weather conditions. We can all recall a particularly cold and blustery day where we decide to stay cooped up inside our warm and comfortable home, instead of venturing out into the harsh elements. Our home protects us from the outside environment all winter long, shouldering the weight of snow and standing strong against the chilling gusts of arctic air. Fighting off the extremes of December, January and March is hard work and by the time spring rolls around, your home requires a little extra love and attention.
Follows these 6 steps to help mend the winter war wounds your house has collected and get it ready to spring back into action!
1. Examine the Roof
When the snow starts coming down in truck loads, the roof of your home is your first line of defence against winter. Once the snow has melted and the temperatures start to rise, one of the first things you want to check it’s integrity. In most instances, you should be able to visually inspect the roof from the ground. Be watchful for shingles that are torn, buckled or missing altogether. Any disruptions in the shingles is a major warning sign that should have you contacting a professional ASAP. You want to mend any damages in your roof before the heavy rains of spring roll around, preventing any water from leaking into your home.
2. Clean the Gutters
With April showers on your mind, the next area of your home that you should give attention is the gutters. Often in late fall and throughout winter, high winds can blow excess debris and leaves onto your roof, which eventually ends up in your gutters. If these gutters are not cleaned and water is not able to properly flow off of your roof, you will have some serious trouble on your hands in the near future. Pay special attention to the downspouts and areas where the water exits the gutters, making sure the water can flow away from the home and not collect near the foundation.
TIP -> When cleaning the gutters, keep an eye out for small asphalt granules or pieces of shingles mixed in with the leaves, which is a telltale sign that your roof soon needs attention.
3. Check the Chimney
Many homeowners in British Columbia utilize a wood-burning stove or fire to keep them warm throughout the winter. After a season of heavy use, spring is the best time to schedule your annual chimney cleaning. Ensure that your chimney is properly pest-proofed, keeping any curious squirrels or birds out of harm’s way, and also pay special attention to the flashing, or the area where your chimney meets your roof. This is one of the most common places for leaks to occur in a home.
4. Ensure Windows and Doors Are Sealed
Now that you are sure that your roof is keeping all the rain out of your home, you should now focus your attention on the doors and windows. These areas of your home find themselves in stressful conditions as the temperatures drop outside while the temperatures inside rise. Some materials are expanding and others are contracting, sometimes in a very short amount of time. This can cause weather stripping, seals and caulking to crack or break off by the time spring comes around. Ensure the integrity of the seals of all openings in your home, replacing when necessary. This will keep moisture out, and eventually when you have your air conditioner running in the summer, these seals will keep the cool air in and your energy bills low.
Bonus Tip -> Don’t forget to check any wood trimming or sills around your home. Spring is the best time to inspect for any signs of deterioration and replace or repair as necessary.
5. Service Air Conditioning Unit
Speaking of air conditioning, if you have a unit on your property, now is the ideal time to service it. Ensure the area around the unit is clear and still level. If the condenser, the screen like coil around the air conditioner id dirty, it will have to be cleaned. Then condenser is delicate, so if you do not have experience with the unit, is it best to call in a professional to complete the annual maintenance and inspection.
6. Test Emergency Systems
Keeping your family safe is the number one priority, and spring is a great time to check that all the systems that protect you are working as they should. Test your carbon monoxide, fire extinguisher and smoke-detector alarms, changing the batteries when required. It is also a good idea to give your home alarm a test run, perhaps changing entry codes if they have been shared with any family and friends.
After following these 6 steps, you can be sure that your home is now safe and sealed, ready for the spring and summer months ahead. You can now get to your spring cleaning inside and out. After a long winter of your furnace running, pay extra attention to clearing the air in your home, dusting the hard to reach places with the windows open for extra ventilation.
Happy Spring from the team at Building Pro Inspections!