Winters in Gardiner can be hard. As the temperatures fall all kinds of issues not apparent during the warm weather may emerge. I sometimes suffer from “home groan,” that is, frustration caused by something that has broken in my home and I’m not sure how to repair it or who can fix it. Homeowners often face this, and although YouTube may be a good way to educate yourself as to what might be wrong or how to repair it, I’ve found that seasonally-scheduled, preventive maintenance helps prevent or solve problems before they become costly repairs. It’s wise to check around your home prior to each season. Here is a list specific to the exterior of the home, by no means complete, that will apply to many homes:
- Basement Foundation: Check the foundation for cracks, especially new or growing ones, and consider caulking, and/or waterproofing paint.
- Check doors and windows for drafts and add foam or other insulation as necessary.
- Sweep or blow leaves from your deck or any wood surface you walk on outside – snow, ice, and rain collecting on top of wood can cause decay.
- Inspect your roofing, siding, and windows. If damaged or worn out consider replacing them with energy efficient ones.
- Disconnect your hoses and store them so the water in the line will not burst pipes during cold weather. Drain the hoses of excess water before storing. Drain and winterize landscaping sprinkler systems.
- Keep your garage door closed in extremely cold temperatures. Exposed water lines can freeze in just minutes.
- Clean insides of gutters and downspouts of debris to make sure melted snow can move freely through them.
- Remove window air conditioners and cover, inside and out, through-the-wall AC units.
How and where can you learn more about a specific home issue? Use more than one source. (Your Uncle Joe or Aunt Barbara might think they know everything but…)
A few good resources (in the order I typically access them):
- View a few YouTube videos on the same topic to find one that best matches your specific situation.
- Ask Professionals “in the business” such as our friends at Majestic Hardware store or other building supply stores who can offer you some guidance. For small jobs that you’d like someone else to do, simply posting a request for recommendations for a local handyman/woman on the Gardiner NY Facebook page often gets results (facebook.com/groups/gardinerny).
- Ask Family and Friends. Someone who you already know might have had the same or similar problem and might be able to offer good advice.
- Know Your Limitations! As I grew up in the building trades, over the years, I acquired knowledge and skills and have been able to do some plumbing, carpentry, and electrical repairs in my own home and occasionally for friends and family. I have also learned my limits, and more importantly, when to call in the professionals before I make the issue worse.