Winter is coming & What is to be done?
(Photo:File:North Branch Salmon River, Tug Hill region, NY (winter). )
Winter is coming & What is to be done?@rondakaysen
Of all the fall chores, cleaning the gutters and downspouts is among the most critical. Your gutters direct water away from your roof and siding, and down into the drainage system. Clogged gutters can cause your roof to leak and lead to ice dams in cold weather. So clean them or hire someone to do the job after the leaves fall. “When the gutters aren’t kept clean, the moisture just sits on the rooftop,” said Dina Dwyer-Owens, a co-chair of the board of directors of the Dwyer Group, a parent company of home-repair franchises including Mr. Handyman and Mr. Rooter.
Just don’t do the work too soon. Clean the gutters before the last of the leaves fall, and you could find yourself back up on that ladder a few weeks later. “I think I did it a little too early,” said Mr. Campagna of West Orange, N.J., who rushed to clean his gutters before Mrs. Campagna, 30, gave birth to their first child in October. “That was a rookie mistake.” And a wasted Saturday afternoon.
If you plan to do the work yourself, be careful on that ladder. Ladder mishaps sent nearly 176,000 people to the hospital in 2013, according to the National Safety Council. If your ladder has seen better days, consider an upgrade. (These fiberglass models are recommended by Wirecutter, the New York Times’s product review site.)
If you hire a professional, expect to spend around $150 for the job, according to HomeAdvisor.
THE WINDOWS AND DOORS
If you have window air-conditioning units, take them out and store them until next summer. But handle those unwieldy appliances with care to avoid injury.
Or you could leave them in place. Ms. Levy of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, covers the outside of her window units with an insulated sheath and wedges towels between the sill and the unit to keep drafts out.
Next, swap out screens for storm doors and windows. “It’s something that we automatically do when it starts getting cold out,” Ms. Levy said. While you’re changing out the screens for glass, check your windows and doors for drafts. Add weather stripping or caulk wherever cold air seeps in.