When the temperatures dip below freezing and the snow begins falling, you must take precautions to protect your roof and home. With proper maintenance and warm weather preparations, you will be ready for winter storms while keeping energy bills low. As many as 8% of all roofing repairs are caused by winter weather conditions alone. This leaves homeowners with hefty fees for the damage they could have prevented.

5 Best Practices to Prepare Your Roof for the Winter

Wood roof with tree at Dazaifu

Typically, damage such as loose or missing shingles can go on without being noticed. That’s why it’s crucial to perform a regular rooftop inspection before cold weather hits. If you find any problems, contact a local roofer immediately for a fast resolution. Expert roof inspections are usually done yearly in normal circumstances, mostly before the wind, rain, and snow set in the autumn season. When this is not the case, experts recommend inspecting a newly installed roof after the first five years.

Roof contractors use a special infrared camera that helps them identify areas that may need attention. Think of it as a thermal scan for your roof. The camera sees the heat signature of the building and reads which parts are more insulated and protected from rough weather and those that aren’t. Areas with poor insulation caused by missing or damaged shingles tend to show up as darker or warmer spots on the scan, where more insulation is needed.

These five strategies can help you prepare for winter weather before cold temperatures arrive. If you’re concerned about the state of your roof, contact a local roofer today.

Inspect Your Roof Before Winter Hits

During the autumn months, pay close attention to any loose shingles on your roof and replace them immediately if necessary. Blown-off shingles are a major cause of roof damage during heavy winds, so take any fallen leaves or branches off your roof before the storm season begins. Also, remember to clear away any debris that may have accumulated on your roof throughout the year.

Clean Your Gutters

Leaves and other autumn foliage are inevitable, but it’s important to make sure they’re cleared out of your gutters as soon as possible. This is simple preventative care that can save you from future repair expenses and water damage inside your home. As a bonus, cleaning out your gutters also helps with insulation and prevents drafts, reducing heating costs in the winter months. Ideally, heating and cooling energy utilization is mainly caused by heat loss and the heat gained through windows; the use estimates to 25% to 30%. However, other factors such as poorly cleaned gutters can also contribute to this use, making it vital to clean them as you prepare for winter.

Check for Leaks After a Snowstorm

If it has snowed, don’t forget to go up on your roof and check for any areas that may be damaged. While you’re at it, inspect for weak or broken shingles that could lead to leaks later down the line. If any leaks are found, contact a local roofer immediately.

Seal Ducts Against Cold Weather

When sealing your home against cold weather, don’t neglect your ductwork. Make sure ductwork is well-insulated to reduce drafts in the winter months. Any exposed or unsealed ducts can allow chilly air into your home, paying special attention to those located near windows and exterior walls.

Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat is an effective way to keep your home warm when you’re not there. This small investment can also help keep energy costs down because it turns your furnace on and off at specific times of the day. One additional benefit of a programmable thermostat is that you can set it to lower temperatures at night or whenever no one is home. Even if you don’t want to change the temperature yourself, this feature provides convenience.

While these five strategies are easy enough, they’re also very important to keep your family safe and comfortable during the cold winter months. It takes only a few hours before cold weather arrives in most regions, leaving homeowners scrambling for ways to prepare their homes. For this case, be sure to consider regular maintenance of your roof as you wait for winter. With adequate maintenance, your roof can last for more than 20 years if it is a flat roof.