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With the cold weather approaching, homeowners should start looking towards preparing for the upcoming winter here in Ottawa. There are some easy steps to take before the first snow falls to prepare your home for the cold weather and to prevent damage, or even disaster, once the temperature drops. Here are some tips to make your fall home maintenance routine easier.

Downspouts and drainage

With the amount of snow that arrives with winter, it is always a good idea to check your downspouts in the fall. Snow melting on your roof will require a means to drain away from your foundation, and proper maintenance of gutters and downspouts is essential to keep your home safe from water damage.

Ensure you gutters are clear of all leaves and debris in the fall, and make sure the downspouts are properly connected so that water does not leak out. Often, downspouts can disconnect with heavy rains, or freezing, and so it is best to check and secure the connection in the fall.

As always, make sure that water is draining away from your foundation walls, and not towards the walls. Proper grading means that water drains away from the home towards a city sewer, a ditch or another chosen path. Once the snow starts to melt, you want to have the peace of mind that water won’t be pooling against your foundation, seeking entry into your home.

Shingles and ice dams

Once winter starts, you’re going to want to know that your roof has proper protection against leakage. Ensure your shingles are in good condition and seek repairs on any areas where your roof may be exposed. If you have been putting off a roof repair for the past few years, consider getting the work done before the heavy snows start to accumulate and melt on your roof.

You may also have heard of the term ‘ice dam’. This occurs when icicles hang in large quantities on the eaves of your house. Not only are these icicles a dangerous falling hazard for people below, but they signal a larger problem with your home’s attic ventilation.

Ice dams form when heat is trapped in your attic and not properly venting out. The warm air of the attic melts the snow on the bottom layer of your roof, but not the top layer. This melting snow turns to water and flows down your roof towards the eaves, but then is frozen once it hits the cold air at the edge of your roof.

This buildup of freezing water turns to icicles and starts to weight heavily on your eaves, eventually forming a dam that prevents more water from escaping and weighs dangerously on your roof.

This will certainly cause water to enter in your home eventually through the roof and so once you notice the buildup of icicles on your eaves, know that permanent solutions must be enacted to improve the ventilation of your attic.

Sump pump battery backups

If you have a sump pump, test your battery backup for your sump pump in the fall as well to ensure that it is functioning. Winter storms can often knock out the power to your home and a battery backup is needed to ensure your sump pump will keep functioning with heavy rains or melting.

Basement renovations

Fall is a great time to start planning your basement renovation as well. With more time being spent indoors due to cold weather, many people look towards improving or expanding their indoor living space as the weather turns.

Basement renovations not only expand your living space, but increase your property value as well. Ask the experts at Holland Homes and Renovations how we can transform your basement into a dream space for relaxation or recreation.

If your basement is currently too dark, damp or unwelcoming, contact us for a free consultation on how we can bring more natural light in through a window replacement, add better insulation for comfort, or add a bedroom for family members or tenants.