“While staying warm is top of mind for many homeowners this upcoming winter, it is important to note that in order to stay warm and dry, homes must first be functioning properly,” says Bill Jacques, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) president. “A home inspection can help homeowners prioritize maintenance projects as the seasons change and weather becomes more severe.”
ASHI recommends fall as the ideal time to begin home inspector consultations and any necessary home repairs. Maintenance costs are generally lower when homeowners proactively prepare their home for winter weather instead of waiting to fix issues that appear.
Homeowners may want to consult with a professional home inspector on winterizing projects, including:
* Cleaning gutters and downspouts – When ice damming occurs, water cannot drain from gutters and can sometimes seep into the home and damage ceilings and walls.
* Roof, siding and shutter repairs – Heavy rains and high winds can call for window protection from shutters and the necessity of a sturdy exterior and roof for protection. ASHI recommends inspecting your roof, siding and shutters at least once a year.
* Caulking cracks to stop cold drafts – Worn-out weather stripping around doors and windows allows cold air to seep into the home, which increases heating costs.
* Inspecting chimneys – Adding a cap or screen to the top of a chimney will prevent birds nesting or animals entering. ASHI also recommends inspecting the damper for proper operation and checking mortar between bricks.
* Checking batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors – Many fires or cases of carbon monoxide poisoning occur during cooler months due to an increase in furnace and other heat source usage. If you have gas appliances, you need a CO detector for increased safety.
“The time to get serious about necessary home repairs is before the temperature starts dropping,” says Jacques. “Once winter weather begins and your home has problems, you will be wasting money each month, so think about getting your home professionally inspected so you can keep the home in good condition and reduce problems from lack of maintenance. ASHI-certified home inspectors can help identify problems so you can keep your home in good condition.”
Homeowners can find an ASHI inspector by visiting www.ashi.org. The ASHI “Find a Home Inspector” directory allows homeowners to locate an inspector in their area, by language preferences or services provided.