Preparing for Severe Winter Weather in Southeast Wisconsin

home-damage-repairAs a Wisconsin homeowner, one of the most physically taxing and anxiety-causing seasons is winter. Shoveling, salting, sealing up windows... it's all cause for dread. Perhaps the most concerning element, though, is the possibility for serious damage in the form of leaks, roof cave-ins and more. Take a look at our tips for preventing damage to your home in the face of severe winter weather.

Check for existing roof damage

Pull out the biggest of your ladders and climb up onto that roof (or at least try to get a good view of it). Take a careful look at its condition and check for any obvious holes, leaks, broken/missing shingles or any other suspicious-looking areas. If you do see any damage, it's well worth having it fixed by a handyman (for one or two shingles) or a roofer (for larger areas) before the snow starts to fly. The cost of those repairs will be much less than what they could be should you end up with more extensive roof damage or serious leaks.

Clean out your gutters and prevent ice dams

Make sure that any melting water is able to flow freely through the gutters and is not backing up against the house due to leaves and other debris. If water from snow melt backs up against the house, it can cause damage to the roof, siding, or gutters themselves. It can also lead to ice dams, which could cause water to flow into your home.

Extend your downspouts

Efficiently divert water away from your home by adding extensions to your downspouts. The water should run roughly 3 to 4 feet away from the house to ensure that water will not pool or freeze around the foundation, potentially causing water to leak into your basement, cracking foundation walls and/or cracking/raising poured concrete flooring. If your foundation walls are cracked badly enough, it could cause catastrophic failure to your home's structure, making it vulnerable to a complete cave-in.

Drain and shut off exterior faucets/spigots

Avoid frozen pipes and related leaks and damage by making sure that you disconnect all hoses, drain all exterior faucets and shut them off completely before temperatures start to drop below freezing. If your home is relatively new, you will likely have frost-proof faucets that simply need to be turned off from outside. If you have an older home, however (more than 10-15 years old), you will probably need to use the shut-off valve inside your home to ensure that the exterior faucets are turned off completely. By heading off "Old Man Winter" before he can cause damage to your home, you'll spare yourself both anxiety and potentially costly repairs. Source http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/real-estate/T029-S001-12-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-winter/index.html
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