Prep now for winter
When summer is over it is time to start getting the home ready to handle the much colder winter weather. Failure to get the home ready for winter can lead to issues. Those issues can range from damaged foundations to roof problems. Your home inspection report can be a great starting point.
Water control via gutters
First thing to do is to make certain your gutters are cleared of debris and the downspouts direct water away from the home foundation. Try to get the water directed at least 6-10 feet away, the farther the better. Water that has accumulated next to the foundation will put a lot of pressure on the foundation, especially when that water freezes and expands. What was reported in your home inspection report can be a be help in this, especially in the area of exterior grading and does it slope so that water is directed away from the foundation.
Prevent pipe bursts
Next thing is to disconnect your garden hoses, turn off the water to those hose bibs, and let drain the small amount of water out of the small section of pipe between the interior shut off and where the hose connects. Doing this helps prevent your hose bib pipe from freezing and bursting a pipe.
Air leaks cost money
Check around your home for air leaks around doors and windows. If you have storm windows, replace the screen with the glass section to help reduce air loss. If you have really old windows that do not fit well then consider adding some gaskets to help seal up the air leaks. An old method to easily and cheaply reduce air loss around old windows is to the use tape to cover the gaps to keep your heater air from escaping. Another thing to consider is clear plastic film over the windows to stop air movement. Doing air leak testing is outside the scope of a home inspection, however a cold windy day is a great time to find air leaks.
Insulation level in the attic
If you have not looked into your insulation levels in your attic now may be a good time to do so. The amount of insulation you need varies with where you live, and the amount varies with the age of your house. Older houses were not built with as much insulation as more modern home. We recommend having at least an R factor of 30 minimum for older homes, newer houses can have as much as R-49. Once again more is better however, with the higher levels of insulation (say going from 36-49) the return on investment gets less noticeable. Not having enough insulation is related to ice dams forming. What causes Ice Dams? If you are not familiar with what your insulation was in your attic consult your home inspection report.
Act quickly to protect your home
Having a home is great. It also comes with responsibility to maintain it so that it keeps its value. So, take the above steps to help prevent water damage to your home. Fall can quickly change from great temperatures to being too cold to clean the gutters, so start early.