Louisiana has, without a doubt, experienced one of the most bitter and unusual winters on record in this state. On the Northshore alone, there 3 ice events with one actual hazardous ice storm. Also, the season does not seem to want to let go with temperatures dropping into the 40’s every 10 – 12 days, as if to remind us that old man winter can exact his due until spring or summer officially takes over. Because of these colder temperatures, homeowners in Southeast Louisiana who usually enjoy a practically maintenance-free winter on our fair shores, have had a wake-up call when it comes to wrapping pipes and letting the water drip – exactly how high do you turn the faucet on anyway? With all of this in mine, below are some tips and tricks to check out around your home as the weather thaws, and things really start to warm up.
Inspect roof: Check your roof for loose, warped or missing shingles and make sure the chimney flashing and skylight seals are intact.
Clean and repair gutters: Clear winter storm debris, such as branches and pine cones that dropped from the trees during the ice storms, from gutters and downspouts and check that they are still securely attached to the house. Blocked or loose gutters can allow water into your home and damage trim.
Look for leaks: Common culprits for hard-to-find leaks are attics and crawl spaces, such as underneath a raised house. Inspect these areas, look under sinks for damage from frozen pipes and check your water heater for signs of corrosion.
Clear exterior drains: Remove leaves from underground or exterior drains to clear the way for spring showers and prevent backups. With all of the precipitation that we had – whether frozen or rain – there may be clogs that are not normal around your ditches.
Inspect siding: Inspect siding for pieces that have come loose or popped because of the unseasonable cold weather.
Check window and door seals: Examine the exterior caulking on door and window seals to ensure it remains watertight.
Patch cracks: Patch cracks in concrete driveways, sidewalks and steps that may have appeared because of the ice.
Paint the exterior: Painting or touching up paint on the exterior of your home not only makes it look better, but will also help protect the home from the elements. In Louisiana, it is recommended that if you don’t paint your home that you at least clean off the mildew and put a seal on the exterior to protect it from more mildew growing back quickly.
Inspect the HVAC: Hire a qualified technician to service your home’s HVAC system to make sure it is running properly before hot temperatures call for air conditioning. Now is also the time to replace your HVAC filters.
“Winter weather can damage homes in ways that aren’t easily visible,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Paul Sullivan, CAPS, CGR, CGP, of Waterville Valley, N.H. “Home owners should protect their investment and hire a professional remodeler to repair or replace damaged components now, before spring storms create more problems.”