Stay a step ahead of Mother Nature by staying on top of your home’s maintenance. These five key fixes will help you weatherproof your home from both extreme and everyday weather — whether it’s hailing golf balls or raining cats and dogs.
1. Upgrade Your Shingles
The most important aspect of a truly weatherproofed house is a well-maintained roof. Maybe you’ve noticed pesky leaks during storms or you’ve seen your neighbors replacing their shingles or tiles. It may be time to price a new or patched roof. And consider upgrading to hail-resistant shingles — they offer important protection and can lower your home insurance premium. Your Farm Bureau agent can help you adjust your coverage.
Warning Signs: Your shingles are curling or cracked, you’re experiencing leaks, or your roof is starting to show its age.
Tackle It: Before the rainy or snowy season hits.
Consider: Many homeowners with flat roofs paint their roof exteriors with white rubberized coating for another layer of water protection and a reflective solar barrier during the hotter months.
2. Protect Your Exteriors with the Right Paint
Repainting your home’s exterior creates an instant visual upgrade, but it can also help protect your home from the elements. Depending on your climate, look for an exterior paint with UV ray protection or a waterproof finish.
Warning Signs: Your paint is peeling, bubbling or fading, or you haven’t painted in a number of years.
Tackle It: In the summer, when no rain is in the forecast and the paint will dry quickly.
Consider: Your windows are an exterior surface, too. Upgrading window coverings with honeycomb cellular shades or heavy drapes helps keep the elements out.
3. Check Your Gutters
It’s easy to let fall and winter leaves clog your gutters, causing them to pull away from your house and create standing water. But properly flowing gutters help keep your foundation and basement dry and safe.
Warning Signs: Your gutters have gaps, cracks or are sagging. Or you have water damage or standing water beneath your gutters.
Tackle It: Before the rainy season begins.
Consider: Contractors generally slope gutters a quarter inch per 10 feet to get proper flow.
4. Stop Leaks with Weather Stripping
Weather stripping your doors, windows and any other openings is one of the simplest ways to weatherproof your home — and it can save you money. The U.S. Department of Energy breaks down the different types of weather stripping, from tension seals to tape, and their uses, costs, advantages and disadvantages. Be sure your home is properly sealed to lower utility bills.
Warning Signs: You can see light coming through your closed front or back door, or rooms feel drafty.
Tackle It: The sooner, the better.
Consider: Even with proper weather stripping, every home will still have small gaps and cracks that let air escape. A tube of caulk can help you fill the tiny cracks around doors and windows that weather stripping misses.
5. Increase Your Insulation
The bad news: If your home isn’t properly insulated, hot and cold air can leak through your walls, basement, attic and crawl space, upping your energy costs. The good news: Weatherproofing against the elements by adding to your home’s insulation can protect your home from cold weather and reduce your heating and cooling bill by up to 20 percent. And when it comes to energy-efficient insulation options, you have plenty, including blanket, loose fill, rigid and sprayed-in-place. For warmer climates, reflective insulation and radiant barriers can provide some heat protection and lower air conditioning use.
Warning Signs: Your ceilings, floors and walls are cold to the touch, temperatures fluctuate from room to room, or your energy bills are high.
Tackle It: Before peak heating and cooling seasons.
Consider: Covering your hot water heater with an insulating blanket can reduce heat loss by up to 40%.
Are You Eligible for Homeowners Insurance Discounts?
Have you made serious home improvement upgrades lately? If so, you might be able to lower your homeowners insurance premium. Be sure to check with your Farm Bureau agent to help ensure you’re receiving the discounts you deserve.