How to Keep Your Pond from Freezing This Winter

Garden ponds provide a sense of calm in spring and summer. But as the days grow colder, it’s important to know the simple steps to take to keep your pond from freezing over until warmer weather returns.

First, a thorough cleaning of the pond is necessary to remove any dead plants and algae from the water. Any rotting foliage left behind may produce gases underneath the ice’s surface that can kill your fish over the winter. Move hardy plants to deeper water, where they will be safely submerged (at least 18 inches deep) to keep from freezing. If your pond freezes over entirely before you can move plants, be sure to remove and store them inside for the winter in the basement or a heated garage. Tropical lilies and other tender plants must be removed and stored in pots without drainage holes. Plants can be wrapped in damp newspaper and stored in trash bags. Check them every other week or so to make sure they do not dry out.

Clean the Filter and Pond

There are options for storing your pond’s filter between seasons, but a thorough cleaning is always a good idea before the cold sets in. Once it has been cleaned, you can move the filter closer to the water’s surface to keep your pond from freezing over. Or, simply remove the filter and store it until springtime. Next, vacuum the pond to remove any dead plants and left-over debris. Again, these can produce toxic gases when left beneath an icy surface, which can be harmful to your fishy friends.

Fish Care

When the temperature drops, reducing the amount of food you give to your fish can help them acclimate to the cold. As soon as it gets below 50 degrees, stop feeding them altogether to prevent them from creating unnecessary waste products in their environment. The fish will go into semi-hibernation, when they will feed on the nutrients in the water. There are some breeds of fish, however, that are sensitive to cold weather and need to be brought indoors when the weather gets cold. These include fancy goldfish with ornate tails, bubble eyes and lionheads.

Cover The Pond

To keep your pond from freezing over completely, investing in a cover will ensure that falling leaves and branches do not make their way into your aqueous environment. This will also assist during the process of prepping the pond for springtime when the cold thaws. All you need is a shade cloth, netting, or landscape fabric to do the job. If you are in doubt of how best to handle your pond’s care, contact the friendly experts at National Property Inspections.

Pond Safety

Whether you have a large or small pond, chances are you have some sort of pump and filtration system. During the cold months, it is especially important to disconnect these lines before water freezes and breaks the entire device. In fact, it’s best to purchase a de-icer to melt a small hole in the surface of your pond, allowing noxious gases to be purged from the water.

When it comes time to keep your pond from freezing, call your local National Property Inspections team to help batten down the hatches. Their expertise will go a long way in keeping your fish, filtration system, and overall outdoor haven a safe and beautiful place year-round.

3 Tips for Child Safety at Home

While home is often the safest place to be, your house could pose unseen threats to your child’s safety. Here are some of the ways you can maintain child safety standards and prevent serious accidents before they occur.

General Safety Tips

It’s essential that everything that could be potentially harmful is locked away for your child’s safety. Childproof latches are easily available to keep little hands away from dangerous tools, sharp edges, and appliances. Outlets will need fault circuit interrupters, which protect against electrocution when something electrical gets wet. Installing non-slip strips in bathtubs, showers, and underneath rugs is also a way to keep little ones from slipping unintentionally. If you are unsure if your home is hiding hard-to-spot dangers, feel free to contact National Property Inspections. Our inspectors have the expertise and experience you need to make an informed decision for the safety of your home.

In the Bedroom

If not prepared properly,cribs can pose some of the most serious safety risks for your child. Cribs that were built before 2012, for example, have been found to be life threatening because of their drop-side feature. If you want to re-use your childhood crib for traditions’ sake, you can modify it by permanently attaching the drop side to its end posts. This will eliminate any risk of the side suddenly dropping out of place and putting your child in danger. Once your child is able to push up in its crib, remove all bumpers, pillows, toys, and hanging objects for your child’s safety, as these can serve as tools to assist in an infant’s escape and a fall from their crib.

In the Bathroom

Be sure to turn the water heater below 120 Degrees so it’s impossible for bath water to get too hot. Scalding water can cause third degree burns in seconds on delicate skin. You’ll also want to lock all potentially dangerous instruments like razor blades, nail scissors, hair dryers, curling irons, and electric razors in a cabinet that is not easily accessed by children. Medications, cosmetics, cleaning solutions, mouthwash, perfumes, hair dyes, hair sprays, nail polishes, and removers should be stored in a locked cabinet with child-proof caps on them (when possible) as an extra precaution. Always close the toilet seat and consider installing a toilet-lid lock to keep things secure when not in use.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen can be a fantastic place for families to bond over cookie making and long talks, but to keep little ones safe, you’ll need to follow these tips:

– Turn any pot handles towards the back of the stove, using only the back burners whenever possible. Sometimes merely keeping things out of reach can go a long way.
– Position any chairs and step stools away from the stove top to prevent any curious diners from trying to sample anything above a hot burner.
– Be sure to place the garbage can behind a cabinet with a childproof lock on it and keep all corded appliances unplugged when not in use.
– Although sandwich bags are a commonly used kitchen accessory, be sure to keep these away from curious hands as well because of the dangers plastic can pose to child safety.
– Finally, does your child’s highchair have a safety belt or strap that goes between the legs? This prevents wobbly babies from taking an unwanted tumble.

If you are at all worried about the safety of your home, call National Property Inspections at 1-800-333-9807 to find a team near you. They can help with any questions as to the functionality of appliances, check for safety, and give you the peace of mind to bring baby home.

Are you getting ready to bring a baby home, or struggling with a toddler’s curious hands? Leave a comment below!

Bonfire Safety: How to Make a Bonfire at Home the Right Way

Having your own backyard bonfire takes the nip out of chilly evenings and creates the perfect atmosphere for a festive end-of-fall gathering. Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to adhere to bonfire safety rules and build your own. Not sure where to start? National Property Inspections is here to help.

Know the Rules

Before learning how to make a bonfire, it’s important to research your area laws. In some areas, permits are necessary to build a bonfire, and they are only allowed during certain times of the year. Contact your local fire department for assistance in understanding the regulations and guidelines that may be unique to your city or state.

Bonfire Safety

Here are the top five ways to keep your home and loved ones safe from harm:

1. When selecting placement for the bonfire, always be sure to keep it a safe distance away from the house, garden, and any surrounding trees. Always set it up on top of soil rather than grass to avoid any stray embers from catching. Keep a bucket of water handy just in case, or have your outdoor hose at the ready should the need arise.

2. NEVER use any sort of accelerant on a bonfire. Building a fire is a skill that is easy to learn and master, but it takes precision and accuracy. The expression “don’t add fuel to the fire” is a warning for good reason. Paper products are excellent starters, and can be placed within the firewood safely without risk of explosion. Be cautious about what gets tossed into the flames, as cans and other metals can explode when heated.

3. Wear layers. Having a coat on keeps party-goers from standing too close to open flames, which can flicker and fly in outdoor breezes. Enjoy the bonfire from a safe distance, while still staying warm and toasty with your s’more.

4. If you choose to add sparklers to the evening festivities, it is important to remember some safety rules. Children should handle sparklers with fire-safe gloves, and always hold them horizontally to prevent any sparks from getting too close. Most importantly, it is essential to only hold one sparkler at a time. Three sparklers, when lit together, can produce the same amount of heat as a blowtorch meant to bend metal!

5. We all know it is fun to enjoy festivities with our furry friends. However, for Fido’s safety, it’s best to keep pets indoors for everyone’s bonfire safety.

How to Make a Bonfire

The best way to make a bonfire is by starting with a circle of bricks or stones to create a definitive framework. Make a teepee from small tinder such as twigs, pine needles, bark, or newspaper in the center of this circle. Next, make a teepee of kindling, or larger tinder, over the first, leaving holes for oxygen to breathe and feed the flame. Add fuel logs parallel to each other on two sides of the teepee, repeating up to five levels with the teepee in higher layers each time. Once your fire is set up, light it by dropping a match in the center of the teepee or place it in one of the gaps. The goal is to light the inner tinder layer for a gradual build.

Taking precautions and following safety instructions will set you up for the perfect get together during chilly fall evenings. Sip cider, enjoy ghost stories, and catch up with friends all while enjoying the comforting warmth from your homemade bonfire. Remember, if there are ever any questions about safety, National Property Inspections is always here to help.

Are you having a bonfire this fall? Let us know in the comments below!

4 Benefits of Wood Burning Stoves

Over time, technology has developed numerous methods for heating and cooling homes, but some of us still prefer an earlier system: wood burning stoves. There are several tremendous benefits to owning a wood burning stove. Not only are these vintage stoves efficient, they can become an attractive focal point in any room, adding a sturdy and practical appearance while still serving as a functional piece.

1. Wood burning stoves help cut costs.

One of the benefits to owning a wood burning stove is saving on gas consumption and bills, especially if you only burn reclaimed materials instead of chopping firewood. This is good for both the environment and your wallet! Making up for the cost of installation and purchase in as little as three years, you can save up to 50% on energy bills by using reclaimed materials in your wood burning stove. Another option available is purchasing a clean-burning wood stove. Perfect for “no smoke” areas where the levels of pollution are monitored by the government, clean-burning stoves decrease carbon monoxide omissions by up to 65 percent. Call a National Property Inspections inspector today so that we can help you take the next step towards a greener, less costly home utility bill.

2. They’re a renewable source.

Wood burning stoves have been an integral part of heating homes for hundreds of years for good reason. Despite common opinion, burning wood is actually a much greener alternative to burning other chemical agents to heat the home, and it’s a renewable resource that can be reproduced again and again to fill the need. According to Green Match, burning wood only produces 0.008kg of CO2 per KWH, compared to 0.198kg and 0.517kg for gas and electricity, respectively. With all of the green initiatives currently emerging, this one is a no-brainer.

3. Having a wood burning stove is convenient in the event of a power outage.

Not only are you set for winter, you’ll be set for harsh winter storms. One of the benefits to this great piece of equipment is that it needs no electricity or gas to run, and thus is self-sustaining in the event of a power outage. While other homeowners are struggling to get the power back on, you can simply add another log to the fire, kick back, and relax.

4. You can place a wood burning stove almost anywhere.

Perhaps the greatest and most convenient benefit to having a wood burning stove is the ability to install it virtually anywhere. As long as it is away from curtains and similar flammable objects, a wood burning stove can be placed anywhere a vent pipe can be installed. With just a few wood burning stoves strategically placed throughout the house, the need for a central heating system could be eliminated.

With their versatility, innumerable utility savings, and environmental benefits, wood burning stoves are a great option for almost any household. Once installed, you and your family will have no problem staying warm this winter. Contact your National Property Inspections professional today for an evaluation on your home before the frost sets in. Do you have a question about wood burning stoves? Comment below!

Your Guide to Fireplace Safety

Every winter we look forward to decking the halls and cozying up by the fire with a book and a blanket. However, there are some very important precautions to take to ensure fireplace safety in hearth and home. Whether you are using a gas, electric, or wood-burning fireplace, each requires its own set of safety precautions to take before lighting the yule log.

Check the Damper

While preparing your fireside, make sure the flue and damper are open so that the smoke is drawn up and out of the chimney rather than back into your living room. Remember never to close the damper while any embers are still burning for continued fireplace safety, as any fumes still leftover can creep throughout the house. If at all possible, keep a window open while the fire is burning to prevent noxious odors and dangerous inhalants from spreading. You can easily check the damper yourself by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. If you’re not completely sure whether your flue is venting properly, feel free to contact your local National Property Inspections professional.

Wood Burning Fireplace Safety

When it comes to wood-burning fireplaces, one safety tip is to never burn wet or green wood, as it billows smoke when it burns, ruining a peaceful night by the fireplace. Old, dry wood burns evenly and with far less noxious smoke. Although counter-intuitive, the smaller the pieces of wood you use, the faster they burn and the less smoke they produce. You may be replacing your logs more frequently, but without the discomfort of inhaling smoke and cinder.

Keep it Clean

Another important fireplace safety tip is to clean out the ashes from previous fires. Although it is a simple chore, it is vital to remove ashes to at least one inch in height because any more will result in choking the air supply to the logs, creating additional harmful smoke. Remember, coals can stay hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so be sure to wait until they have cooled completely before scooping. If you don’t want to deal with the grime and residue, contact National Property Inspections for an evaluation today.

Child Fireplace Safety

Whether your fireplace runs on wood, gas, or electricity, it is essential never to leave any of these unattended, especially if there are children in the home. Minimize their risk of of unjury by installing a safety screen in front to minimize their chances of getting too close. The same attention must be paid to fire tools, including matches and igniters; keeping them out of the reach of children is essential for a worry-free winter.

Safety at a Glance

While some enjoy using the fireplace as a direct heat source, it is important to know that the fireplace should never be used as the sole source of heat in the home. For the safety of your fireplace, never leave it burning for more than five hours at a time. When the fire is burning, keep the glass doors open to allow warm air to escape and cool air to draft up into the chimney. Close the grate to ensure rogue sparks don’t fly onto the carpet. Keeping a non-flammable rug next to the fireplace could mean the difference between a simple ember and a full-blown house fire.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact your local National Property Inspections inspector. Our expert professionals are ready to help make sure your family enjoys another cozy winter by the fire.

Do you have any tips for fire safety that we missed? Comment below!

Cleaning with Vinegar Gets the Job Done

No one wants to do the heinous chore of scrubbing dirty grime and buildup from inside the oven and around the house. Cleaning with vinegar is becoming a more and more popular choice as a cleaning product because of its simple, natural ingredients and effectiveness at getting the job done. With all the allergens in chemical cleaners and so many brands to choose from, it is no wonder cleaning with white vinegar has become even more common.

It may be easier to reach for a convenient spray cleaner, but noxious gases and proper ventilation can be cause for concern. Using natural ingredients gets the job done while also keeping your family safe from the toxic fumes coming from the oven and other dirty appliances around the home. Follow these helpful tips to have your home spotless just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Cleaning the Oven & Stovetop with Vinegar

When cleaning with natural ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda, you can have your whole kitchen spotless by the time your first guest arrives. The two mixed together create an effective cleansing paste, which when left to soak leaves your surfaces looking brand new. First, be sure to scrape off the top layers of built up grime and apply the mixture. Leave it to bubble for a while, perhaps 30 minutes, and use a rough scrubbing brush to easily wipe away the leftover residue. You can also use this same method on the stovetop for baked-on messes. Simply sprinkle the baking soda onto the stove where it is particularly dirty, and spray with vinegar. Again, wait for 15-30 minutes to allow it to do its work. When it’s finished, your surfaces will thank you by looking brand new.

Cleaning with Vinegar in the Kitchen

Living with a clogged kitchen drain? Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda are once again here to the rescue. A half cup of both baking soda and vinegar, poured separately, bubble and fizz in the drain to clear away any unwanted debris that can clog up your pipes. This method is not only effective, but it does far less damage in the long-term to your pipes than harsh drain chemicals that wear it away. However, if this method doesn’t seem to make a dent in the problem, you may want to consider calling one of the professionals at National Property Inspections, who have the tools to get a better look and see what the real culprit could be. Call them today for an in-depth inspection of your drains and sinks.

The refrigerator is another culprit in the kitchen that can hide germs, but is sensitive to tough chemicals. Vinegar is the perfect choice for this situation, especially because it is non-toxic and will not contaminate any food being stored in the open.

Cleaning with Vinegar in the Bathroom

Bathtub film doesn’t stand a chance against a swipe of distilled vinegar followed by baking soda. This breaks down even the toughest layers to be simply rinsed away. If you have a glass shower door, prevent the buildup of scum by wiping glass shower doors with a sponge soaked in white vinegar. This leaves a protective film on the glass against watermarks, so there is no need to rinse afterwards. If your showerhead itself is running slowly, remove any mineral deposit buildup by pouring about one cup of vinegar into a plastic bag and attaching it with a rubber band to the shower head. Allow it to soak overnight, and in the morning the pressure should be good as new!

Having such versatility, cleaning with vinegar is the ultimate in natural home cleaning products. Refrigerators, drains, cutting boards, microwaves, and much more can be sanitized with less odor and risk to your family’s health. For more ideas on how to care for your home, visit National Property Inspections website here.

Did any of these tips and tricks work for you? Leave us a comment below!

How to Prevent Your Pipes from Bursting

It seems like there are so many things to remember going into the winter season: holiday shopping, school breaks, family get-togethers, and countless other distractions. Remembering to make sure your pipes don’t freeze yearly is not just a cost-saving measure, but a preventative one as well. Prevent your pipes from bursting this holiday season by following these helpful tips from National Property Inspections.

The Issue

When the temperature drops, pipes are likely to freeze if they are not properly insulated. This eventually ends up slowing the flow of water, gradually expanding and causing the pipe to burst. If you don’t want a flood on your hands, it is important to have your pipes inspected regularly by a professional to ensure they are being insulated properly. National Property Inspections can easily detect and help prevent these incidents from happening well before the cold season sets in.

The most common pipes that burst in the cold are exposed to severe temperatures such as outdoor hoses, swimming pool supply lines, and sprinkler lines. While these may seem like the only culprits to tackle, it is also important to remember the indoor pipes as well. Pipes that are susceptible to freezing include basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, kitchen cabinets and any others that may run along an exterior wall. Since interior pipes are often located in cabinets, it is generally a good idea to leave their doors open during winter months to allow warm air to circulate.

Prevention

Before the first big freeze, remove and bring all outdoor hoses inside to prevent any water damage. Although it would seem unlikely, the amount water expands can cause irreparable damage to hoses and pipelines if they are not properly stored and insulated. Be sure to drain them of any excess water so as not to bring any mess indoors. To prevent pipes from bursting, a pipe sleeve or heating cable can help to insulate any exposed water pipes. Heating cables are particularly efficient because they automatically adjust to the appropriate heat as temperatures change. Another option is to relocate any exposed pipes entirely, which would increase heat flow and prevent pipes from bursting entirely. If you are unsure as to which option is right for you, call a National Property Inspections near you for a helping hand.

Although conservation is key to saving on utilities, sometimes allowing a bit of water to drip from the faucet can make a world of difference when the temperature drops. If any faucet is connected to freezing pipes, this slight trickle can help control the expansion and damage of pipes if they are at all at risk. If you go away on vacation during the winter, resist the urge to turn the heater off completely. To prevent coming home to a flood, keep the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.

What If they Freeze?

If your pipes do happen to freeze, don’t panic. You may be able to tell if this is happening if you turn on a faucet and it only drips. Keep the tap open and continue running water through the pipe to help it thaw, and if there are exposed pipes, try to heat them with towels soaked in hot water, a portable space heater, or a dryer. NEVER use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any other open flame.

National Property Inspections is always a great resource to help make sure your pipes don’t freeze during the winter. Contact your local inspector for more information on how you can prepare your particular home for the cold.

3 Reasons Why Winter is the Perfect Time to Renovate Your Home

When we think of the phrase, “Out with the old, in with the new,” spring always comes to mind. But it turns out that winter might actually be the ideal season to make some impactful changes in your home. Here are three reasons not to wait till April for your next big project.

Wait Times Decrease Significantly

Winter is considered a slow season for contractors, and often, they’re actively looking for work. Without tight schedules to work around, you can hire smarter and book the most qualified professionals for your needs. There will also be more time to hash out the important details and really talk though the changes you’re hoping to make without jumping in headfirst. Your contractors will be able to accomplish more, faster, so you can complete bigger projects more efficiently.

Government agencies are also slow during the colder months, so your wait time for necessary building permits might be cut in half.

Materials and Services May Be Less Expensive

The end of the year is a prime time to receive steep discounts on home appliances, cabinets and more since stores and warehouses are clearing out old stock to make way for new. Building materials naturally go up in spring as well. Renovating in winter can help you purchase everything you need for your project at the best possible price, allowing you to really get the most from your budget.

Another way to cut costs is to order seasonal repairs and services during the off-season. For example, winter is a great time to have your air conditioning system inspected and fine-tuned. Waiting till May when the vast majority are concerned about staying cool means heading to the back of the line.

You’ll Already Be Prepared to Usher in Warm Weather

No one wants to cut into warm weather fun by scheduling renovation projects. If you get it all out of the way in winter, you can book that vacation without missing a beat.

The Best Home Renovations for December through March

Believe it or not, some projects are better accomplished in winter, particularly home additions. The frozen ground and dry air are optimal for jobs like digging foundations and pouring concrete. Builders can also avoid the rainy season and get the job accomplished quicker.

The dryness that accompanies cold weather can even help you achieve faster results with interior paint. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to open every window in the house to vent paint fumes. You can work around the issue by choosing an environmentally friendly, waterborne paint. Wallpaper is also making a comeback and you can easily hang it in the winter to take bare walls to the next level.

Other excellent winter renovation projects include adding a kitchen backsplash, installing new lighting or replacing interior doors. The point is that what’s going on outside never has to interfere with the dream home you’re building for your family on the inside. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to winter projects.

National Property Inspections inspectors are highly trained and qualified to give your residential or commercial property a pre-renovation look-over. Visit npiweb.com today to find an inspector near you.

Your 10-Step Winter Checklist: Home Edition

With this simple winter checklist, your house won’t take a backseat to holiday planning. Keep reading to find out the steps you can take to ensure that you and your home are ready to face the elements when the weather gets tough.

1. Make sure your furnace is in great working order.

Your very first to-do for the winter checklist is to call an inspector to look over your HVAC system. They’ll test its efficiency, check for carbon monoxide leaks and let you know about replacing any filters or parts. No one wants to be without working heat when temperatures dip down below freezing!

2. Take a closer look at your roof.

A strong, resilient roof becomes more important than ever when there’s a winter storm warning. Carefully check your roof for any loose flashings, missing or damaged shingles and debris from nearby trees. You may need to replace these flashings and shingles and add rubber underlayments to prevent ice dams.

3. Shut off all exterior water supply.

Forgetting to shut off the water supply to your irrigation system can result in disaster when water expands inside. Turning the valve to “off” and winterizing your system can help you avoid cracked pipes, leaky seals and broken valves in the spring. See our handy guide to get started on this aspect of the winter checklist.

4. Stock up on salt and other essentials.

It isn’t unheard of for stores to run out of cold weather essentials in the face of an impending storm. Stock up now on salt, sand and pet-safe ice melt so you aren’t caught off-guard when you need them most.

5. Have your chimney cleaned.

Don’t light that cozy fire yet. Your chimney or wood burning stove needs cleaned, inspected and tested yearly. Have a professional check the vents and be sure everything is in good working order to avoid fatal chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks.

6. Feel for drafts.

Drafts can come in from surprising sources, like electrical outlets. Check all windows and doors and winterize the areas as needed with film or seals. You may need to caulk the exterior of your home if there are large gaps between siding and window or door frames.

7. Check the attic.

Attic ventilation and insulation problems account for the majority of damage to your home’s roof during winter. This is because warm air escaping the home can cause ice and snow at the peak of the house to melt, flow downward and collect under the shingles and gutters as ice dams. A poorly insulated attic also means a chillier home, an overworked furnace and a higher bill. Call a professional to add or replace insulation and check that your attic is properly ventilated.

8. Clean the gutters.

Clogged gutters can prevent water from flowing away from the house and lead to ice dams, severe roof damage and the formation of dangerous icicles. Remove all leaves and dirt from gutters to extend the life of your roof and keep your home safe.

9. Protect pipes from freezing.

Plumbing is especially susceptible to freezing in cold winter weather. Insulate any exposed pipe in the attic, crawlspace or exterior walls with materials like electrical heating tape and foam. Results can vary, so be sure to check which materials are recommended for the pipes in your home before beginning.

10. Cover, store and winterize outdoor accessories and additions.

Winter can do a number on your deck and patio. You’ll want to cover any patio furniture, and if you have room to store it in a garage or shed, even better. You should also consider adding a fresh coat of sealant to your deck to prevent precipitation damage and fluctuating temperatures. All outdoor pools, fountains and ponds will need their pumps unplugged, and it’s best to drain them and start fresh in the spring.

When in doubt about the winter-readiness of your home, call a National Property Inspections inspector near you. We can help you get your home ready for winter, stay safe and avoid costly repairs come spring. Call 1-800-333-9807 today to schedule an inspection.

Do you have a question about how to get your home ready for winter? Let us know in the comments below or share with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

5 Solutions for Common Winter Roof Problems

Harsh winter weather conditions, along with constant freezing and thawing can cause major roof problems. Be ready with these five common roof issues and the steps you can take to prevent them.

Problem 1: Ice Dams

Ice dams occur when snow at the warmer peak of a roof melts, flowing downward. Water accumulates under shingles and around lower gutters and forms a dam as it refreezes into ice. The water that gets trapped behind an ice dam can seep into cracks and joints and cause significant damage.

Solution: Ice dams aren’t preventable altogether, but making sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated is a great start. You can also purchase rubber underlayments at your local home improvement store and have them installed.

Problem 2: Gunky Gutters

Fall debris in your gutters could come back to haunt you this winter. Leaves, twigs and dirt can clog gutters and prevent water from flowing away from your home as ice and snow melt. This can cause water to pool on your roof and cause leaks and water damage.

Solution: The solution for this issue is simple—just be sure to keep your gutters clear. We recommend giving them a look-over once surrounding trees have lost the majority of their leaves. Cleaning your gutters will also help prevent dangerous icicles from forming.

Problem 3: Tree Limbs

Harsh winter weather might just do in the branches of that tree that’s barely hanging on. Even healthy tree branches can freeze and fall or be blown off when temperatures hit an all-time low. Any branches that are too close to your roof can also scrape the shingles and cause damage.

Solution: You’ll want to trim any questionably close or dying branches to within six feet of your home to be sure your family stays safe and warm.

Problem 4: Condensation

Condensation occurs when warm air meets a cold surface. It can form on your roof if your attic is not well-insulated and heat is escaping through the top of the house. This leads to interior mold and mildew, a costly cleanup and a roof that won’t last. It also leads to ice dams.

Solution: To prevent condensation, make sure your attic is well ventilated. To tackle this project, t’s best to first order an inspection for your attic. Your inspector can compile a comprehensive report and discuss the steps you need to take to get your attic and roof winter-ready.

Problem 5: Leaky Flashings

Flashings are thin metal strips placed along the edges of the roof, chimney and skylights to help them stay waterproof. If flashings aren’t installed properly or if harsh weather loosens them, they can become detached from the roof.

Solution: Loose flashings are a leading cause of leaks. It’s important to inspect them at least once a year, preferably in late summer or fall, and replace any that appear to be damaged.

With franchises in 49 states, National Property Inspections inspectors have the knowledge and expertise to get your home winter-ready. Visit our website today to find an inspector near you and rest easy knowing you’re prepared to get through the coldest months.

Do you have a question about getting your roof ready for winter? We can help! Leave a comment below.