For many Americans, buying a home is one of the largest, long-term purchases you can make.
Whether you settle into a property from a young age or decide to wait until you start a family, it is common to live in the same home for years to come after the purchase. But as the years go by and the seasons change, the key aspects of the property you first fell in love with will most likely diminish, such as the heating system, plumbing and roofing.
That’s why it is essential to keep an eye on the functionality of your home on a regular basis. The most popular time for checking everything is fall, according to many insurance companies, due to the upcoming colder temperatures and potential storm damage.
While most maintenance service companies have their own checklists to assist you in proper care methods, we chatted with Chris Pauly, owner of local, family-owned company Gutterman Services, Inc., about what it takes to maintain Northern Virginia homes, specifically. Highlights from our conversation are below.
Why is October the best time to start winterizing your home?
October has some of the best weather of the year. It’s not too hot or too cold, and often provides very dry weather, enabling you to get things done outside the home.
What are the five most essential things people should do to properly prepare their home for the cold season?
- Inspect roof and flashings as early as possible. It’s too late once it’s too cold because the roof and flashing will become brittle and not easy to work with.
- Make sure your gutters and drains are clear.
- Clean and inspect your chimney.
- Drain your sprinkler system and winterize your outside water faucets.
- Change your furnace filters and smoke detector batteries. Personally, I like to do this twice per year as a safety precaution.
What is the most common problem your company faces with home repair during the winters here in NoVA?
Shingle roofs are brittle and hard to work on when it’s below 40 degrees outside, and roof flashing and gutters are metal, making them hard to manipulate in colder temperatures. Our workmen are all bundled up and therefore it’s harder to negotiate safe work practices on ladders.
Is there a trend you see with the homes here in NoVA that makes them vulnerable to winter weather?
Our roofs in the region are definitely getting taller and steeper, which makes them hard to navigate in any season, but winter is by far the worst.
Draft from windows and doors is a common problem. Are there any easy, DIY solutions to this?
Laying towels down at the thresholds of doors can keep the wind out. Another trick is if you can’t open old windows anyway, then caulk them shut!
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