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Preparations all homeowners should consider as fall approaches

CEO of a roof repair and home improvement company, James Freeman, advises homeowners on how to prep for the upcoming colder temperatures.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Editor's note: The above video is from 2019. 

With fall right around the corner, it might be time to ask: should I get my gutters checked?

Getting ahead on exterior home maintenance can help you save time and money as the cooler temperatures approach.

James Freeman, CEO of PJ Fitzpatrick, a roof repair and replacement company, advises homeowners on what to avoid and preventative tips to take to help keep your home exterior looking great.

Important maintenance to focus on/get fixed:

Gutters

Freeman recommends homeowners check to make sure their gutters are well secured this year and pitched correctly. For those who don't know, pitched means that your gutter has the right angle for it to be able to capture waterflow, according to Freeman.  

“Unfortunately, most people wait until the start of fall to have their gutters cleaned," he said. "They really should be clean all year long. Most homes actually require several cleanings each year to keep them draining." 

An easy solution to keeping up with your gutters that Freeman recommends homeowners consider is installing a gutter protection. 

"Gutter protection includes purchasing products that can rest on top of the actual gutter, allow for the water to flow through the gutter, but won’t allow for anything to get in and clog that gutter," he said.

Roofs

Homeowners should also check to make sure their roof isn't beyond it's recommended life. Freeman warns that any openings or gaps within your roofing can lead to what's called an ice dam.

Ice damming occurs when water from melting snow runs down the surface of a roof and re-freezes, according to Pure Situation Room. Freeman says that ice damming can lead to a major leak on the roof, causing damage to both the inside and outside of your home.

Attics

Another way to prepare your home and avoid those pesky ice dams is by checking to make sure your attic is thoroughly insulated. This can keep your electric bill down, while preventing snow from melting and forming an ice dam.

According to Freeman, the recommended amount of insulation for this region is called R38. This is a measurement of the depth of the insulation you'll need to line your home, with a minimum thickness of 12 inches

He says the most common mistake homeowners make during the colder seasons is: "Some people will want to close off their gable vents or attic fans. It’s a terrible idea because this can cause condensation. I know the thinking is the fans open, the gable vent’s open, but you need to have air flow."

Affordable DIYs

For those looking to save money this holiday season, Freeman goes over a few do it yourself or "DIY" options that don't have to break the bank. 

"We’re one of the only companies that created a large "do it yourself" section of our website," he said. "We have a tremendous amount of tools on our website. If a customer wants to learn anything about their gutters, their roof, their siding and be able to see how to do everything from simple to more complex repairs or installations, we have it there." 

He advises replacing worn out weather-stripping and sweeps on entryway doors and garages can be a quick way to improve insulation and keep your home cozy and warm. 

If it's safe to do so, Freeman suggests not procrastinating this year and cleaning out your gutters to avoid foundational issues in the future.

"A lot of customers worry about that gutter overflow, causing sheets of ice to form on their porch or driveway," he said. "So, checking on those gutters and making sure that it’s capturing the water properly is one more reason to keep them in good shape and do everything possible to avoid those ice dams and clogging." 

Another easy DIY that many people attempt is installing deicing cables on their roof and in their gutters. These cables are "made to resist exposure to sunlight, moisture, and impact, such products provide dependable, long-term ice dam prevention," according to Bob Vila, a home improvement and repair company

Of course some very simple things homeowners can quickly check to keep the heat where it belongs within your home, include checking windows to make sure they close and lock properly. If not, Freeman recommends replacing the latches to ensure good insulation. Also, make sure to check if all your doors are closing and latching correctly before it's too late. 

Many homeowners want to re-caulk their windows for added protection, but Freeman warns to confirm if your windows actually need re-caulking. 

"If you don’t do it properly, it can trap water and just be a mess in certain situations," he said. 

Freeman reassures homeowners that it's always a good idea to talk to a professional if you're hesitant or concerned about a repair.

"When we come out to do a sales assessment, we check out their home and give them any advice that they need to be able to make sure their home is in good working order for the winter," he said. “I think more people find that once they get out there, they need someone to really come out and do it properly. The people that have those skills are few and far between." 

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