With cold weather on our heels, it is important that every Pennsylvania homeowner gives their home a once-over to make sure that water won’t find its way indoors. There are definitely ways to spot the problem before something large arises, but you just need to have the right thinking process!

If there is one thing that would be recommended above others to get your home ready for fall, it is to clean your gutters. There are a lot of products out there that can help you with this possibly dangerous and at least tedious task. Once the sediment builds up, things can begin to get tricky. Whether you hire someone to clean your gutters or you take a look at them yourself, old-fashioned gutters are the way to go, and keeping them clean if your best option. Most homes have gutters that are attached to the edge of the roof line. No matter the kind of gutter you have, an overflowing gutter is going to send the water up and into your home if it isn’t addressed.

Even if the water only overflows on the exterior and doesn’t get inside of the house it can still wreak some serious havoc. It is also a good idea to have a downspout, as this will also help avoid water damages. A downspout should always direct the water as far from your foundation as possible, since the whole point of gutters is to keep the water away from the house. If your downspout ends up going into a rain barrel, clean the screen and open the tap up so that it doesn’t fill up and freeze in the winter. It is ideal to use a diverter to direct the water away from the rain barrel in the winter when you don’t necessarily need the water.

With most homes, keeping the water out is also dependent upon proper installation and caulk to keep the water out. Proper installation depends on the type of window and what kind of siding you have, but generally it includes head flashing that directs any trapped water that is behind the siding and weep holes where water could be trapped.
After you’ve checked all of this, there isn’t really much to do to keep a properly installed window or door from keeping the water out. The only other thing you will need to do is make sure that the door closes tightly and check the caulk. Obviously caulk doesn’t stay forever, and even though it expands as the building materials do, gaps will still open.

Once you are sure that the gutters will direct water away from the house, you should give the perimeter a thorough inspection to look for ways that water might enter the foundation. Even if you aren’t sure where the water could enter, if water pools next to your home, it will indefinitely find a way inside.

Unless you have a “green” roof, then your roof is impermeable that sheds a lot of runoff, that is why your gutters need to direct a large amount of water away from the house quickly. Think of your property the same way, the more impermeable surfaces you have, the more runoff you’ll have.

Updated: November 4, 2014 — 4:58 pm

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