Certain times of the year are better for outdoor home maintenance. During these times, you should get reacquainted with your gutters. Especially after a difficult winter, it’s important to check your gutters as soon as you can. During the colder times of the year when you can’t do outdoor maintenance, you can always check the condition of your windows. Understanding how to perform checkups and necessary repairs can save you plenty of money on replacements.
Maintaining Your Gutters
The biggest issue with gutters is making sure that they don’t become clogged up with dirt, leaves, mud, and other debris that can prevent them from functioning. A backed-up gutter will not be able to filter water through, which could lead to a waterlogged front yard or backyard and potential seepage into the basement and other parts of the home.
If you invest in a gutter screen, you need to check it frequently. These may not be able to keep all forms of debris from building up inside your gutter. Some types of debris such as leaves and pine needles can still get through these screens depending on how fine the mesh covering is. Instead then, you may want to consider getting a downspout guard instead. These can still obtain an accumulation of debris as well, but they’re typically better than gutter screens in protecting against this debris.
Just because you have a gutter screen or a downspout guard does not mean that your job is done, though. You still need to check your gutters and clean them of gunk and debris. This is especially important two times of the year: in the autumn when leaves fall and in the winter when large amounts of snow may fall and stick.
In the autumn, leaves may build up into a sticky clump if you experience a lot of rainfall. These clumps of leaves can easily prevent a gutter from functioning properly. This is why you shouldn’t stop at a gutter screen, since it will only trap in these large clumps. Instead, you’ll have to manually clean these clumps and other debris from your gutter to prevent it from backing up and leaking water on your property.
After autumn has come and gone, you probably won’t be able to get outside to do much maintenance for your gutter during the winter. If you can during any warmer days, certainly try. Ice dams can form as snow accumulates and ice forms from the freezing temperatures. These are similar to the leaf clumps that you may experience in the autumn, as they back up and clog your gutter and prevent it from doing its job. You can break down or melt an ice dam, but try not to wait until the springtime if you notice one.
Maintaining Your Windows
Once you’re done taking care of your gutters, don’t forget about window maintenance. You can and should check on your windows all year long to prevent breakage, potential injuries from shattered glass, and expensive repairs or replacements. First of all, you should make sure that your windows fully close. While you should be able to get them open in the event of an emergency situation, they should close all the way so that outdoor air doesn’t get into the house. This causes you to have to crank up your heating or air conditioning and ratchets up your energy bill.
If you have pets or children, you may want to consider a window screen as well as a window guard. These make windows harder to open but still not impossible. You should teach all family members about safety precautions when it comes to windows, instructing your children to stay away from them. You should also never position items in the house around a window if you have kids, as this could lead to breakage.
In the case of a window with a chip or a crack, depending on the size of the damage, you can possibly repair it yourself. Most home repair stores sell kits for repairing damaged glass. However, if the crack is big enough, no putty can really fix it. A big crack threatens the structural foundation of the window, enough so that it could shatter at the slightest provocation. This leads to danger for all family members. In such a case, it may be smarter to just replace that entire window instead.
Throughout the year, it’s important to monitor the condition of each window in the home. If you experience rough winters with thick snow and especially hail, these could potentially cause chips and cracks to the glass. Plenty of other incidents, like a lawnmower kicking up stones or heavy debris, can also cause window damage. Assess if the window’s fixable or not and don’t wait to replace it if you must.