Make the outside of your house look clean. Get rid of stained and dirty concrete driveways and patios. You can rent a pressure washer from a rental company or if a friend has one borrow it for a weekend. Remember different size pressure washers and different tips have have a stronger and weaker spray. When using one for the first time you need to test it out on an area that wont be noticed and hold it a couple of feet away from what you are spraying off. A pressure washer can damage and tear up surfaces if held too close.
No hose: In climates with freezing weather, drain garden hoses and store indoors to protect them from the elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water. Faucets and pipes can easily freeze and burst, causing leaks and water damage.
Clear it out: Clear gutters and eaves troughs of leaves, sticks, and other debris. Consider installing leaf guards if your gutters can accommodate them – they are real time savers and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. If it rains and water is coming over the edge of the gutter like a waterfall, its a sign of a clogged gutter that needs cleaned out. Clogged gutters can allow trees to grow in them and get under your roofing materials and cause severe damage. Check the joints between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary adjustments to tighten them. Check your down spouts they need to go out 6 ft away from the home
Seal it up: Caulk and seal around exterior door and window frames. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk or use expanding foam to seal them up. Not only does heat escape from these openings, but water can enter and may eventually cause structural damage and mold problems.
To save on energy heating your house and stopping drafts make sure all of your storm windows are down and not the screens. Also put the glass back in your screen door, or pull it down to give you extra insulation from the cold and wind. Making sure you do this every fall when the temp. drops will save on your wallet!
If your washing machine, or patio table rocks back and forth and is getting on your nerves. A solution to your problem is matchbook-size vinyl wedges used by plumbers to stabilize toilets. They are flexible shims that won’t deteriorate in damp areas like wood and it can support up to 500 pounds. You can get them atcontainerstore.com a 6 pack for $2.99
Have the furnace inspected to ensure it’s safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide no-cost inspections. check your furnace filter every couple of months to ensure its not getting clogged. You can purchase a higher priced filter that you can wash off, let dry, and reinstall.
Look up: Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Upcoming winter weather can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater chance of further damage inside the home. It’s best to have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, but you can do a preliminary survey from the ground using binoculars.
A DIY tip for the new year: make sure a water problem can be stopped quickly simply by showing the family members where all the water shutoffs are located, and how to turn them off in case of a minor or major leak. If needed make a simple diagram of where they are and what they shut off. Remember a little leak could cause a lot of damage by the time someone gets there to fix it!