An Extra-Snowy Winter is on the Horizon

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Are You and Your House Ready to Cope?

While sweater weather is in full swing, one reality remains: winter is right around the corner. And, as meteorologists far and wide have already announced, it’s going to be a cold one. Some chilly winter weather is in store for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, with January threatening to bring the coldest blast of air of the season—and the dip in temperature is predicted to result in about six inches of snowfall, or more, above normal.

Farmer’s Almanac also released a similar prediction for most of the country earlier this year in their annual 2018 winter outlook. The popular guide went as far to earmark certain dates for us to expect heavy rain and snowfall along the Atlantic Seaboard this winter season. According to the Almanac, make sure you have plenty of hot cocoa and a warm blanket on the following dates: January 20-23, February 4-7, February 16-19, March 1-3, and March 20-23.

What’s the takeaway? Enjoy the pretty leaves and relatively mild temperature for now, because before you know it—if the experts know what they’re talking about—you’ll be trading them in for a pair of gloves and a snow shovel.

Anything else you should worry about before the snow and freezing wind makes it your way? Unfortunately, extreme winter weather can do a real number on your home’s exterior. The last thing you want to have to worry about is a leaky roof or drafty window that sends your monthly electric bill through the roof and leaves you freezing, damp and miserable in the meantime.

Make sure you enjoy your snow days this year! If you haven’t had your roof and siding inspected by an expert, the trusted professionals at Fichtner Services can leave you assured that your home is ready to take on the winter onslaught. They’ll provide you with an affordable, reliable, and thorough inspection of your home’s exterior—plus they have the resources to take care of any issues or areas of concern they uncover.

Don’t get stuck behind the eight-ball—resolving these issues now will save you money and prevent the hassle and stress of trying to make unexpected, last-minute repairs in hazardous conditions. The experts at Fichtner Services can survey your roof to prevent devastating ice dams, inspect the foundation for small cracks or openings that can expand in freezing temps and allow mice and other pests to get in, and a laundry list of other essential winter-proofing steps that might have never crossed your mind but will be glad that the Fichtner team has double and triple checked for you.

Stress-Free Home Winterization

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It might still be sunny, but winter is fast approaching—making now the perfect time to start planning for winterizing your home. Here’s a handy checklist to help ensure your home is ready for the change in seasons. Begin by taking a good look at the exterior of your home, paying close attention to the roof, gutters, downspouts, grading and windows. These fixtures all require a little extra TLC before the cold weather hits.

THE ROOF

The burden of cold weather abuse is largely absorbed by your roof. The weight of accumulated snow and ice can be astronomical, freezing and thawing causes movement, and windy conditions can lift and tear at roofs. Typically, checking your roof requires perilously climbing that shaky ladder that’s been rusting away in your crawlspace. Thanks to Fichtner Services, there’s no need to put yourself through this dangerous exertion any longer. Our experts will clean off leaves and branches, trim overhanging tree limbs, and inspect for bulges, worn spots, or split seams that could lead to leaks during the winter months. Call today to get signed up for our Full Roof and Gutter Service before it’s too late!

GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS

The importance of free-flowing, leak-free gutters can’t be over-emphasized—they are integral to the overall health of the house, particularly the basement or crawlspace. If your eavestroughs can’t handle the rain or melting snow and ice, the ground will become soaked. If the ground is soaked around your house’s foundation, there is a substantially higher risk of a leaky basement—something you’ll undoubtedly want to avoid; especially in the winter! You can rest assured that the Fichtner experts will ensure you avoid this headache. With the expansion and contraction of aluminum gutters, debris clogging them up and weighing them down, it is important to have your gutters cleaned, tightened up and sealed at joints. We specialize in optimizing your gutters and downspouts to handle even the most torrential downpours—leaving you nice and dry all year long.

WINDOWS & DOORS

When the temperatures dip below freezing, there’s nothing worse for your comfort—not to mention your energy bill—than a drafty house. Checking you windows inside and out is an often-overlooked step in cutting down on the draftiness of your house. On the inside, and this might sound obvious, but check to make sure the windows are shut and locked all the way! I know at my house we like to open the windows in the fall for that fresh air. But sometimes when cool days turn to cold nights we just close the sash for the evening without locking it because we’re planning to open it the next day. Pretty soon it is too cold in the daytime as well and we’ve forgotten to LOCK the window tight. When the latch to that window is engaged, it completes the work for you in compressing that weather stripping and keeping the draft away. On the outside, make sure the caulk seals at the wall surface, such as siding or brick, to the window trim is nice and tight. If it is cracked or pulled away leaving a gap then you should re-caulk prior to the cold weather. This will prevent water intrusion that will later expand and contract in the freezing temperatures making the problem worse

For your doors, if your doors or storm door jiggles or doesn’t shut firmly, you’re losing that important seal to the outside.   Storm doors have an insulating pocket of air between it and the exterior door so make sure those are tight. Most storm doors have an adjustable strike plate—the metal tab with a hole in it that’s mounted on the jamb—and simply moving it up or down a fraction of an inch can keep the door from blowing off its hinges in a strong gust of wind. You’ll also want to take a look at your door sweeps—the long metal or rubber extensions that are nailed on to close the gap between the bottom of the door and the flooring—and make sure they are installed correctly on basement and attic entries as well as on exterior doors. Don’t take a chance of missing a gap—here at Fichtner Services, we pride ourselves in our attention to detail, outstanding customer service, and affordable pricing. Stop in or give us a call today to make sure your home is in tip-top shape for the coming winter.

ATTIC ACCESS & CEILING PENETRATIONS

The exchange of conditioned inside air with unconditioned outside air, whether summer or winter, is a constant source of energy loss and can cause serious condensation problems. One of the best things you can do to cut down on it is to re-insulate your attic above the ceiling and make sure the access hatch and holes through the ceiling (light fixtures, fans) are properly sealed or capped off in the attic. A plywood cover over the hatch with insulation adhered to it is a quick fix but there are also pre-made access covers that do a nice job of covering a set of dropdown stairs. Check the fans and light fixtures up close and seal gaps you might find with caulk. From inside the attic, if you can see exposed and uninsulated can lights, fans and other penetrations, then they should be safely covered up with pre-made insulated covers that won’t cause a fire. Taking these steps will pay dividends in the coming winters and summers!

Clean Out Your Gutters – Not Your Wallet

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Problems Caused by Clogged Gutters

Cleaning the gutters is an oft-overlooked item on many a ‘Honey-Do’ list—let Fichtner Services make sure it actually gets done this year. You’ll save yourself some back-breaking, and potentially dangerous work and avoid paying thousands of dollars in damages by trusting our trained professionals to do what they do best: making sure your roof is in tip-top shape.

Why is cleaning out your gutters such an important task? Dry leaves, tree branches, and other debris can accumulate in your gutters both during the dry summer months and when the leaves start to turn in the fall season. You likely won’t notice the problem until your gutters start overflowing during the first major downpour of the season, and by that point, it’ll be too late to prevent lasting damage to your roof and home.

In addition to debris concerns, it’s also a good idea to periodically have your gutters inspected for any damage. Whether it’s a particularly strong gust of wind or a stray football that causes it, a dented or loose gutter can pose serious issues down the road if it isn’t correctly and promptly repaired.

Obstructed or damaged gutters can lead to standing water, which can be filled with harmful mold from decomposing leaves and insects. Mold is common in wet climates and can cause a wide range of health complications if it finds its way inside your home—plus it’s tricky (not to mention expensive) to thoroughly clean up, so it’s best to prevent mold altogether

The overflow can also result in a leaky roof. Water that doesn’t drain to the ground will gather on the roof, soaking through the shingles and causing substantial damage inside. The same threat applies to your basement as well. If your gutter’s downspouts aren’t adequately cleared, water can seep into your basement. This can lead to potential damage to your foundation as well as your furnace, circuit breakers, and other utilities/belongings located in your basement. A cracked foundation is a big headache for any homeowner and is very expensive to resolve.

So exactly how often should you clean your gutters? The answer is: it depends. We would advise consulting our specialists routinely throughout the year—but there are a couple additional factors that could mean you need your gutters cleaned more often. If you have pine trees growing around your house, it is advisable to get your gutters cleaned more often. The pine needles shed year-round and can quickly lead to clogged-up gutters. If you are located at higher elevations or cold climate, you have to consider the threat posed by ice. Ensuring that your gutters are clear during the cold winter months can prevent significant roof damage caused by freezing.

As the old saying goes: ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ The experts at Fichtner Services can ensure that your home is protected from the potential side effects of clogged gutters and prevent future damage to your roof. Call today to get a free estimate and put your mind at ease.

To help maintain your gutters and lessen the need to clean, take advantage of our 10% off on Leaf Relief Gutter Protection Special!