Seasonal tips for homeowners as fall approaches

This article originally appeared in the September 22nd edition of Saskatchewan’s Fort Times.

Much like squirrels and bears, who horde food and fix up their dens or nests as winter approaches, so too should homeowners. Well, it’s probably not necessary to forage for nuts or berries, homeowners should be in a similar frame of mind when it comes to preparing their abodes to make it through a long prairie winter.

As fall officially begins Sept. 23, northern Regina home inspector, James Gibbs, wants Fort Qu’Appelle residents who own their own homes to be prepared to do any necessary seasonal maintenance.

Gibbs, owns his own home inspection company, recommends homeowners take “quick inspection measures” to ensure that homes aren’t damaged in middle of the winter.

Firstly, Gibbs recommends taking a walk around the exterior and interior of the home to ensure it is properly sealed to keep air and water leaks from appearing, which is especially important in the winter and “temperatures drop and snow and mixed precipitation fall, freeze and melt,” said the home inspector.

Gibbs stresses the number one rule of home ownership is keeping water away.

“Whether it be floods or water freezing and melting, it’s very important during all seasons to ensure pipes are properly functioning and windows, walls and ceilings are properly kept up.”

The following is a checklist of things to look for this fall:

  1. Check and replace damaged caulking and weather-stripping around windows and doorways, including the doorway between the garage and the house.
  2. Check exterior wood siding and trim for signs of deterioration.
  3. Inspect electrical service lines for secure attachment where they enter your house, and make sure there is no water leakage into the house along the electrical conduit.
  4. Examine all roof flashings, such as at chimney and roof joints, for any signs of cracking or leakage and to confirm strength of your roof in case of heavy snowfall.
  5. Check for any holes in the exterior cladding that could be an entry point for small pests, such as bats and squirrels.
  6. Disconnect the outdoor hose from the water valve and drain it to ensure the faucet and hose itself don’t freeze and become unusable come spring.
  7. Confirm the grading of the dirt around the house is angled properly so precipitation navigates away from the home and not into the basement.
  8. Examine the back deck to confirm strength in structure in case of heavy snowfall.

“Homeowners should make checklists to refer to at the beginning of each season,” said Gibbs. “Checklists are extremely beneficial during seasonal transitioning times to ensure hot and cold air don’t leak, that water doesn’t leak through cracks, and to (ensure) certain inspections aren’t forgotten about.”