13 Sep 2023

Preventing Water Intrusion: Your Essential Fall Maintenance Guide

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As seasoned home inspectors, we understand that one of the most common and potentially damaging issues homeowners face is water intrusion. Fall, with its crisp air and colorful foliage, is the perfect time to take preventative measures to safeguard your home against this insidious threat. Whether you’re a homeowner or a potential homebuyer, here’s your comprehensive guide to fall maintenance that can help protect your investment and ensure a dry, comfortable living environment.

Start with the Gutters

Your home’s gutters play a critical role in directing rainwater away from the foundation. Over time, leaves, debris, and even small critters can clog gutters, causing water to overflow and potentially seep into your home. In the fall, give your gutters a thorough cleaning. Ensure they are securely fastened and sloping slightly toward the downspouts for proper drainage. Installing gutter guards can help keep debris out, reducing your maintenance workload.

Inspect the Roof

The roof is your first line of defense against water intrusion. Inspect it for missing or damaged shingles, as well as any cracked or broken flashing around chimneys and vents. Address these issues promptly to prevent water from infiltrating your home during heavy rain or snowmelt.

Seal Windows and Doors

Even the smallest gaps around windows and doors can allow water to enter your home. Inspect the weatherstripping and seals, and replace them if they are damaged or worn. Applying caulk or sealant to gaps can help keep the elements out and reduce drafts, which will also improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Check the Foundation

The foundation is the literal bedrock of your home, and any water intrusion here can lead to costly structural issues. Examine the foundation for cracks or gaps and seal them with appropriate waterproofing products. Also, inspect the grading around your home to ensure it slopes away from the foundation, directing water away from your home instead of toward it.

Test Sump Pump and Backup Systems

If your home has a sump pump or a backup system, now is the time to test it. Pour water into the sump pit to ensure the pump activates and discharges water properly. Replace any worn-out components to ensure it’s ready for action when needed.

Maintain Landscaping

Trim trees and shrubs near your home to prevent branches from overhanging your roof or touching the siding. Overhanging branches can damage your roof during storms and provide easy access for pests to enter your home.

Inspect the Basement and Crawlspaces

The lowest parts of your home are most susceptible to water intrusion. Inspect your basement and crawlspaces for signs of moisture, such as dampness, mold, or efflorescence (white, powdery deposits). Address any issues promptly, and consider investing in a dehumidifier to maintain optimal humidity levels.

Evaluate Drainage Systems

Check your home’s drainage systems, such as French drains and downspout extensions, to ensure they are working correctly and directing water away from your foundation. Make any necessary repairs or improvements.

By taking these proactive steps, you can minimize the risk of water intrusion and protect your home’s integrity. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to maintain your property or a potential homebuyer considering a purchase, these fall maintenance tips will help you enjoy a dry and comfortable living environment for years to come. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to water intrusion around your home.


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