Prepare Gutters for Winter
Gutters are the unsung heroes of the outside of your home. A clean gutter keeps water away from the vulnerable structure of your home, including your foundation. You may be used to clearing fall leaves out of your gutters, but take the opportunity to get them ready for the coming winter, too. CLEAN
Get rid of leaves, sticks and other debris in your gutters. Clogged gutters can send water under the roof and into your home’s foundation. If your area gets below freezing, it can also cause ice dams in the winter. Use an old plastic spatula (hit up the dollar store if you don’t have one) clipped to fit your gutters. Scoop leaves and other debris right out of the way. For downspouts, run a plumber’s snake through them to make sure water can run away from your home.
You can install screens to protect your gutters from leaf and other build up, or you can have them installed. As with any professional installation, ask friends and family for recommendations, get several quotes, ask lots of questions and make sure your chosen contractor is licensed and insured.
While you’re cleaning out your gutters, inspect them for damage, creases, rust or holes. Also check for sagging gutters or seams that have begun to separate. If you find loose joints or leaks, clean the gutter and scrape away the old sealant, then re-coat it with fresh sealant from your local hardware store. Holes may require a patch, which you can make with roofing cement and a piece of metal similar to your gutter material.
MAKE A DE-ICING CABLE
If your area gets snow and ice, consider making a de-icing cable to make sure an ice dam doesn’t form on your roof. Take an old pair of pantyhose and fill with an ice melting compound, such as what you would use on your sidewalk. Toss them on your roof intersection with the gutter, and this dam will give water a way to travel off the roof if the gutter fills up with ice.