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According to Climate.gov, weather and climate disasters caused over $300 billion in damages in the US in 2017. Rain, wind, snow, and freezing temperatures can do serious destruction to your home. Some homeowners incorrectly assume that their homeowners insurance will automatically cover any weather-related damage. However, many carriers require you to maintain your home properly in order for the coverage to be valid.
With all that in mind, here are some of the preventive measures you can take to reduce risks of damage to your home.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters can get clogged with leaves, small branches, tree sap, and other debris if they aren’t cleaned out regularly. When they get clogged, water runs down and deteriorates the exterior of your home. This water can also leak into your basement, settle on your front porch, or even damage your foundation. If you aren’t able to clean your gutters yourself, you can typically find a reliable handyman to do this job at a reasonable cost.
Protect Your Foundation
Look at the soil around your foundation to ensure it hasn’t settled into low spots where water can pool. Top it off with extra dirt and grade it downward away from the house if necessary. Pooled water can leak into the foundation or cause damage as it freezes and thaws in fluctuating temperatures in the late fall and early winter. Also, double-check the downspouts of your gutters to make sure they are getting the water far enough away from your home. If they are not, you can add extensions or install rain barrels to combat the issue.
Get a Roof Inspection
How long has it been since you’ve had your roof checked? Before rainy or snowy weather hits your area, Today’s Homeowner recommends inspecting it for missing shingles, damaged flashing, or other issues to avoid potential leaks. If you catch problems early, it’s an easy fix. However, significant roof damage can be costly and very inconvenient. On top of that, if you’re selling your home, a roof in disrepair can reduce your leverage in sale negotiations.
If your house does get damaged by rain, hail, or wind, be sure to take care of any problems right away before the issues worsen. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals to trusted contractors who can do these types of repairs. To find a reputable company that can complete the work efficiently and affordably, get multiple quotes.
Seal Windows and Doors
You need to seal your home inside and out. Starting outside, paint, caulk, and seal exterior wood trim around your doors and windows. Also, reseal your patio, deck, and driveway, if necessary, before freezing temperatures arrive. Now is a good time to check your weatherstripping and caulking around all the doors, windows, and other susceptible spots inside your home as well. Heavy storms can blow wind, rain, and snow into your house. Sealing your home properly will also save money on your heating bills.
Check Your Pipes
Frozen water pipes can lead to cracks and leaks. If your pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures, they will need to be insulated throughout the winter months. Foam or fiberglass sleeves can be fitted around pipes for easy insulation. If you don’t winterize your sprinklers, you’ll be spending time and money on fixing broken lines come spring.
Trim Your Trees
Trim your trees back away from your house, not just to avoid branches falling on your home but also so squirrels, birds, and other animals don’t have an easy route into your attic or house. Additionally, fix or screen in any holes in your soffit, fascia, or gables where critters can find their way inside to escape the cold weather. Also, have any dead or dying trees removed from your yard, so that they can’t fall on your home, your vehicle, or a neighbor’s property during a storm. HomeAdvisor explains your homeowners insurance will only pay if a tree falls and causes damage, so it’s best to be proactive.
Of course, you can’t avoid weather damage to your home altogether. However, you can take steps to reduce problems. With some precautionary DIY work and the assistance of the pros, you can protect your home against weather-related issues to the best of your ability.
as featured on Homesfield.com