I’m sure I put this list out last fall, but it’s worth looking at again every year. With the cooler weather, it’s got me thinking about winter (gasp!) and what to do to get prepared. Here are a few outdoor items:
1. Clear leaves and debris from gutters.
2. Check to be sure the gutter extensions are firmly attached and carrying the water a good distance from the house.
3. Study the grading around your home. Is is adequately slanted to carry water away? Fill in the low areas.
4. Spray water on the roof to see if there are any leaks, loose or damaged areas, or disconnected downspouts. Check to see that water doesn’t overflow the gutters and that it channels away from the house.
5. Caulk around windows and doors where water could get in, especially at the top. Use acrylic caulk if you would paint the area, or silicon if you don’t need to paint. This will give you good savings on heating bills.
6. Check the chimney for loose bricks, gaps in the mortar, or other damage. Pull out those binoculars!
7. Trim tree branches growing near the roof. This will not only help keep them from wearing on the shingles, but keep animals off the roof or from nesting in the chimney. Remove small trees and seedlings growing beside the foundation.
8. Clean leaves and debris from around the air conditioner. Turn the power off. Don’t fully cover, as this provides a nesting place for rodents.
9. Check the garage doors for good fit and operation. Lubricate if needed. Adjust auto reverse if needed.
10. Check the caulking around the pipes, vents, and other wall penetrations. Check dryer vent to make sure it’s not blocked and the outside flapper is working.
11. Clean out window wells. Consider adding window well covers for water control.
12. If you have a sidewalk that butts up against the foundation, check to make sure the gap between the house and sidewalk is filled to avoid water penetration.