Robert Lamoureux | Getting your home ready for winter

Robert Lamoureux
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Question No. 1 
Robert, 

We are in October, and I want to be proactive with my home for the next weather season. I know you’ve covered information previously on what we should do to get our homes and properties ready, but I cannot locate those articles, so am asking if you could cover it again, please? 

This is the first year that I am actually thinking about this at the right time, ahead of the game, instead of trying to play catch-up after the fact. 

Any advice you can share is welcomed, thank you. 

— Marty C. 

Answer No. 1 
Marty, 

Great question and perfect timing, as we approach the winds first, then of course, the rains. 

Let’s begin with the winds and how we can try to prepare for them. I’d start with tree trimming first, making sure that all trees are healthy and properly trimmed. 

If you have a tree that is too close to your home, it’s a great time to get it taken down and prevent a possible large issue. Be sure there are no branches too close to any structures, especially any that can touch the roof and cause damage to that or gutters/facia. 

Be sure that you are prepared to secure all of the outdoor items that could be blown over or become airborne, during winds. Having tie-downs or places to secure these items is important ahead of time, because as we all know winds could pop up on short notice and cause undue hazards or damage. 

During fall, when debris is collecting, be diligent about clearing any drains that get covered in leaves/debris. Even one clogged drain can, in the right circumstances, flood a home. 

If your area and/or deck drains have not been cleaned, I highly recommend that you have a company come out and clear them. If there are backup or slow drain issues, they can run a camera to see where the blockage is and advise on the necessary repairs. 

Most situations are because of roots that have cracked pipes, and this can be repaired but if the tree is not removed, the problem will return. 

This is one reason I am very much against large trees too close to structures … they are aggressive and cause many plumbing and drainage problems. Continue to monitor your property throughout the season of wind and rain, for any drainage issues, and tend to them immediately. 

If you know of areas of flooding on your property from previous years, now is the perfect time to get these areas fixed. If concrete needs to be redone due to poor sloping, take advantage of the good weather now and have that fixed. 

If your yard simply needs drains installed, it’s not a good time while the rain is coming down, to do that. Get it done now and give yourself peace of mind. 

This basic idea of taking care of things now applies to all water issues. The weather is warm and dry, so repairs are easier and materials dry faster than if you were to attempt such repairs during wet weather. Any known leaks of windows or other areas should be tended to now. If the source is not known, a water test should be performed to determine the exact source of the leak, followed by proper repairs. 

If you use a wood-burning fireplace, I recommend having it inspected prior to using it each season. The licensed contractor will inspect the entire fire box, chimney and cap, and report anything that needs repair. Fireplace safety is very important, and should be near the top of the list especially if you burn wood. I strongly recommend using licensed and insured contractors for work at your home, be sure to vet them prior to hiring. I am available for recommendations for most scopes of work, if needed.

— Robert

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]

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