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Keep Winter Merry:

Utilize These Home Winterization Tips

November 10, 2017

Winter is a wondrous delight. With the change of temperature comes gift giving, Christmas decorations, and families sharing treasured memories. On the other side of New Year’s are crackling fires, comfy blankets, and cups of cocoa to console us until the first hints of spring signal the return of warmer weather. But winter’s joys can turn to woes if your home is unprepared for what the season can unleash. Here are some fall maintenance tips for keeping your loved ones, and your living quarters, safe throughout the chilly months ahead.

Staying Warm

Climate controls comfort in the modern world. Your HVAC system works year round to chase away summer’s heat and winter’s cold. But you must take care of it, if you expect it to take care of you. Here’s what you should do to keep your furnace working its best:

  • Change filters. The air intake is your system’s “lungs.” The filter keeps out the contaminants that can damage the unit’s inner workings. Replacing filters at the turn of each season is crucial to your furnace’s long-term health, according to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI). The small amount of money and effort you’ll expend will come back to you in terms of greater comfort and lower utility bills.
  • Give the indoor and outdoor units a close look-see and note any corrosion, loose wires, or other signs of trouble. Start the system and listen for odd noises such as squealing or clunking. Call a professional if you suspect problems.

Keeping the Water Running

Protect your plumbing from the three causes of frozen pipes. According to State Farm, these are:

  1. Rapid temperature decline,
  2. Thermostats set too low.
  3. Inadequate insulation.

To prevent these issues, keep thermostat settings at adequate levels to prevent freezing temperatures in your basement or crawl space. Add or replace pipe insulation as needed and keep a trickle of water running on especially cold nights.

Heat tape is a great way to add an extra level of protection, especially when it comes to pipes near exterior walls that are far away from heat sources. Follow product directions and have a pro do the job if you’re unsure of your skills.

Preventing Illness and Accidents

Sometimes threats to your safety start closer to home than you might think. Preventing misfortune means ensuring that critical measures work as needed throughout the coming winter. Here are some tips for keeping them at their best:

  • Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries with fresh cells. Most of these products have test modes to ensure proper operation. Check your owner’s manual or visit the manufacturer’s website for directions.
  • Check your walkways for cracks that could become trip hazards. Use polyurethane compound or epoxy to correct these problems.
  • Take a walk around your home’s perimeter and look for low spots where rain or melting snow could pool against the foundation. This problem can cause flooded basements, mold growth, or other issues. While you’re at it, give the roof a close look and call a pro if you see missing shingles or other warning signs. Clean your gutters while you’re at it.
  • Do you plan to display holiday lights? If so, then check your exterior outlets for proper functioning. Use only outdoor-grade power cords and other suitable equipment. Follow local rules and know your state of health before attempting strenuous chores.

The tips in this post will help you to enjoy winter’s pleasures while avoiding its pitfalls. So take the time to follow them. After that, you can relax and get ready for the good times to come, knowing you’ve earned some peace of mind. 

Content provided by guest blogger Paul Denikin who is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects to benefit people with special needs children. He is the owner of DadKnowsDIY.com, which shows off helpful DIY projects.

Premium Gutter Protection:

Helps Prevent Costly and Bothersome Damage

October 10, 2017

Left alone, clogged gutters can lead to costly damage. In an Angie’s List feature, four main consequences of clogging were listed:

  • Ice dams. For areas with a colder than average climate, clogs can raise the chance for ice dams to form on the roof’s lower edge or the gutters. These obstructions cause the water to pool and later on seep inside the house.
  • Foundation damage. A clogged gutter will cause water to overflow to the sides and gather into a pool around the house’s foundation. If this remains unattended, the water’s erosive action will cause cracks in the foundation, thus risking a collapse.
  • Wood damage. Water can wreak havoc on wooden parts of the house, which is why gutters are designed to direct the rainwater away from these components. A clogged gutter can’t perform that job well and leaves wood vulnerable to rainwater.
  • Landscape compromise. If there are plant beds beside your house, water spilling over to the side due to clogged gutters falls onto those beds forcefully, damaging the soil and the plants. Moreover, mud splashes to the lower part of the immediate wall, making it wet and dirty.

It’s not just about the money, either. The damage would cause more than just a little inconvenience, and it will last until your gutters are fixed.

Determining a Clogged Gutter

You can detect clogs early by looking for some warning signs whether it’s raining or not.

When rain is pouring, take a look at the behavior of water on your gutters. If the rainwater spills over the gutter’s edges, you can be sure that there’s a clog. Check also if the rainwater sprays like a fountain from elbow joints and gutter seams. Lastly, little to no water flowing out of the downspout extensions indicates the presence of a blockage.

When it’s not raining, check for peeling paint on the sides, eroded soil under the gutters, gutters leaning away from the fascia, and dirty or moist siding beneath gutters.

If you spot these signs, your gutter needs to be unclogged. This would be a tedious process and you probably won’t want to do it again. Thus, a premium gutter protection system can help.

Having a complete gutter protection system, like those available from GutterDome, installed onto your home can protect your rain gutters from the debris that may otherwise enter these vital passages. Such innovative gutter protection systems will prevent clogs and avert the damage, as well as eliminate the need for troublesome and routine gutter cleaning.

Total Protection:

Sturdy Gutter Guards Safeguard More Than Just Rain Gutters

September 6, 2017

According to home experts, homeowners should clean out their gutters twice a year (during the Spring and Fall) if they want their gutters to dispose of rainwater efficiently. If cleaning out your gutters yourself isn’t an option, experts advise that you install a gutter guard protection system to keep debris and leaves from accumulating in your gutters.

Gutter guards are often touted as a way to prevent gutters from clogging due to debris accumulation, and that is exactly how many people perceive these systems to be. What many people do not realize, however, is that sturdy gutter covers like GutterDome can protect more than just your gutters. These efficient systems can also prevent problems such as:

Ruined Landscaping

A clog in your gutter often forces water to escape through the sides instead of the downspout. Water that comes crashing down in this manner can easily displace soil and leave craters where water can pool, ruining whatever landscaping you’ve done in your lawn or backyard. Additionally, large amounts of water running through your yard have a tendency to pool at the lowest point. When this happens too often, permanent valleys can form, resulting in uneven land. 

Eroded Foundations

Typically, your gutters and downspouts work hand-in-hand to safely transport rainwater away from your home. Of course, this only happens if rainwater reaches your downspouts in the first place. Rainwater that escapes from your gutters tends to fall onto the area directly below it. Unfortunately for many homeowners, this area often provides rainwater with easy access into the foundation of your home. This can lead to an eroded foundation, a problem that threatens the structural integrity of your home and often requires thousands of dollars to repair.

Mosquito-borne Illnesses

When it isn’t raining, rainwater will pool inside your gutters right where the source of the clog is. This stagnant water is the perfect breeding ground for many insects, especially mosquitoes. This poses a huge problem, as mosquitoes are a well-known vector for diseases like West Nile virus.

As you may have noticed, a clog is the root cause of these problems. Fortunately, one root cause also means one convenient solution: gutter guards. Do not hesitate to speak to a trusted gutter guard manufacturer or installer like GutterDome, Inc. to learn more about the benefits of installing gutter guards.

Prepping for the Hot Season:

Gutter Guards Keep Out Debris and Leaves Which Are a Major Fire Hazard

August 3, 2017

Many people know that faulty electric wiring, power cords neglected by homeowners and pets with the urge to chew stuff can all cause house fires. Only a few people, however, may be aware that unchecked build-up of dried leaves in gutters can cause blazes, too. While wet vegetation may be the major cause of gutter deformities and wear, dried leaves pose the greater danger as real fire hazards, with the very real possibility of bringing an entire house down if left unattended—particularly during dry seasons in arid areas like California.

Woodsmen and rangers alike know well that dry leaves can ignite with a single spark and are sufficient in creating wildfires big enough to set surrounding million dollars-worth of properties ablaze. Dried leaves and twigs from nearby trees can accumulate inside gutters that aren’t protected with leaf gutter guards; upon ignition, a fire will expose the fascia or the roof sheathing. Depending on the wood condition or the presence of a metal flashing, it can enter the attic and ultimately consume the entire property. 

For greater safety, the University of California recommends the use of metal gutters over plastic gutters in fire-prone areas. This is because unlike vinyl or plastic gutters which quickly fall to ground during ignition, metal gutters will stay in place, thus keeping the fire at the roof edge and away from surrounding mulch, vegetation, and wood piles that can speed up combustion. The University of California also advises homeowners to have a noncombustible/low flammability zone (using noncombustible rock mulch) around their properties if they have installed vinyl gutters to slow fire growth in case of combustion.

Regular gutter cleaning is a must to reduce the likelihood of fire occurrence. If you know you’re not fit or equipped enough to do gutter cleaning yourself, consider hiring the pros. These specialists have the appropriate knowledge and necessary tools to get the burden of gutter cleaning off your back.  It would also be best to install micro mesh gutter covers, which you can purchase from companies like GutterDome, to keep fire hazard leaves from accumulating inside your rain gutters for reduced cleaning time and cost.

Features and Benefits:

Stainless Steel Micro Mesh Gutter Guards

July 13, 2017

There are several types of gutter guards and one of the most extensively developed is the micro mesh rain gutter protection system. This technology uses a filtering mechanism to keep debris out and is a better version than the large holed gutter types. For the most part, this updated system only lets water through, more effectively filtering out environmental debris and thus clogging the channels less.

The finer mesh of the gutter guards are usually made of surgical grade stainless steel and their frame of extruded aluminum for maximum durability. They are coated with a clear anodizing finish to make them immune to corrosion, which helps maintain their aesthetic quality longer at the same time. They do not bend easily and are designed to be highly resistant to different weather elements.

So, what makes micro mesh rain gutter guards effective? This type works along the principle of the so-called “water adhesion”. Water molecules tend to adhere to each other so when the stainless steel wire mesh is wet and the frame is attached well to the gutter and the roof, the water that flows from the roof to the screen simply follows a path through the gutter made by other water molecules.

Micro mesh gutter guards can handle a great deal of rainwater as to prevent it from cascading over the gutters. In addition, the system also helps prevent small critters from entering the gutters or vegetation from seeding and growing inside them. These advantages make the micro mesh gutter guards one of the most highly favored rain gutter protection systems.