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12
Nov-2014

From Rick’s Desk: Are You Ready for Old Man Winter?

Every year it seems that Winter comes upon us much too fast, and before you know it you are breaking open the storage containers looking for your favorite hat and pair of gloves.

It would seem this year is no exception. It’s already the middle of November with Thanksgiving only a few weeks away!!

We recommend the following procedures to the outside of your property.

A simple gutter cleaning before the winter will help you avoid any further damage that may be done to your property caused by the buildup of snow or ice. Depending on how many levels there are to your home, this is a safe and easy procedure to make sure that everything is cleaned out before those long winter months. A roof inspection is key before Mother Nature decides to lose her cool on your property; leaking or collapsing ceilings are a nightmare to deal with for your family and wallet. Tree Trimmings and landscaping can be done prior to the winter to avoid any fall off or to help keep the attractiveness of your property at an all time high.

America’s favorite handyman, Bob Vila recommends the following, more comprehensive list:

Lawn, Garden, and Deck

  • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
  • Aerate the lawn, reseed, and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
  • Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
  • Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
  • Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terra cotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton.
  • Dig up flower bulbs, brush off soil, and label. Store bulbs in a bag or box with peat moss in a cool, dry place for spring replanting.
  • Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
  • Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
  • Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
  • Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
  • Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
  • Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.

Gutters, Roof, and Drains

  • Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
  • Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
  • Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening, and re-secure if loose or sagging. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off the house.
  • Clean gutters of any debris. Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet to prevent flooding of the foundation and water damage from snowmelt.
  • Clean leaves and debris from courtyard and pool storm drains to prevent blockages.
  • Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.

It is extremely important to clean out your gutters! The removal of leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters allows melting snow and ice to flow freely. This can prevent ice damming, a condition where water is unable to drain through the gutters and instead seeps into the house causing water to drip from the ceiling and walls.

If you haven’t already, install gutter guards. Gutter guards prevent debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.

Bob’s suggestion to trim trees and remove dead branches is vital! Ice, snow and wind could cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car, or injure someone walking by your property. Other suggestions are to repair steps and handrails as broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice.

And finally, seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to seal around any wall openings to prevent cold air and moisture from entering your home. Calk and install weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent warm air from leaking out and cold air from blowing in.

Of course we wouldn’t be suggesting this if we weren’t able to perform these and other services for you! Give us a call today to schedule fall clean-ups, gutter cleaning, and winterizing your plants and property!

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