Your roof is part of the finely tuned machine that is your home. It helps keep your house warm, protect you and your home from water damage, and protect your from bad weather and unwanted wildlife.
If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not you should take the steps to winterize your roof, we are here to help. This roof winterization guide will teach you everything you need to know!
Eliminate Low-Hanging Tree Branches and Other Vegetation
During the winter, ice and snow can weigh down trees and branches. That’s a problem if they happen to be located near your home. The last thing you want to hear during a winter storm is a crash that means a branch has taken a tumble onto your roof. This could also have an impact on the cable and phone lines that go into your home. Save yourself some stress, and have branches trimmed back before Mother Nature does it for you.
Check for Pests
It’s a good idea to check your roof for signs of pest infestation as part of your winterization plan. That’s because things like mice, squirrels, and raccoons might see your home as a welcome respite from cold winter weather. These kinds of animals can cause big, expensive problems for you if they decide to call your house home. Check your roof for any signs that animals have already taken up residence somewhere up there. You should also check for weak spots that a chilly animal might exploit to get warm.
Consider heat cables
Heat cables help your roof and gutter system perform their best, even in freezing temperatures. The cables are installed strategically on your roof to help ice and snow melt away without damaging your roof or home. Consider them if you notice spots where there’s not a lot of direct sunlight available or spots where it’s easy for water to collect.
Remove fallen leaves and other debris
If you have a lot of trees and plants on your property, you may notice that during the fall your roof quickly becomes covered in leaves, acorns and branches. It’s really important that you get those things off of your roof as soon as you can. Leaves and other debris can help trap moisture on your roof, which can lead to other problems. They can also clog your gutters, which leads to the final point.
Clean your gutters
Even if you don’t have a lot of leafy green trees on your property, it’s important that you clean your gutters as part of your roof winterization process. Your gutters are important to the overall health of your whole home. They help ensure that water flows away from your home so that it can’t do any damage. However, if they’re clogged they can’t do their jobs. Clean your gutters yourself using some water and a hose, or bring in professionals for a more detailed gutter cleaning.
You couldn’t live comfortably in your home without a roof – so take proper care of it. Start your winterization process in the fall and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your warm home once the wintertime arrives.
Find the leaks by holding a candle near the edges of the window frame. If the flame flickers or goes out, you have a leak.
Remove your screens, clean the tracks and put in storm windows. This should be easy, if unlike at my old apartment, the windows are relatively square.
If your storm windows aren’t cutting it, there’s the good old-fashioned shrink wrap trick. You can buy the kits or just buy the stuff on a big roll at the hardware store. Apply two-sided tape to the window frame, stick the plastic to it, and gently heat that puppy with a hair dryer until it’s taut. For extra drafty windows, and in areas without persnickety neighbors, you can also staple sheets of heavy-duty plastic to the outsides of window frames.
Another neat trick is that bubble wrap makes for good insulation. Who knew? Apparently you just take a spray bottle and mist the inside of your window pane with water and stick a piece of the large-bubbled wrap to the glass, bubble side down. This method is very quick and easy – and is removable. Try it in your guest room. You can leave the windows covered when the room is not used and take it down when a visitor wants the ability to spy on your all-too-close next door neighbor. The bubble wrap seems like a good idea for sliding doors, or a window you may want to keep useful for ventilation.
Don’t forget the window frames! The downside to bubble and shrink wrap is that they don’t actually solve problems of drafty frames. Also, FYI, aluminum frames are much colder than wood or vinyl (if you’re thinking of replacements).
You’ll need to find the leaks in your frame and fill them with caulk, inside and out. For bigger spaces, I’d recommend using wood filler and a coat of paint.
A pair of heavy curtains will help insulate against drafty frames. You can buy curtains that are designed specifically to insulate and absorb heat from the sun or, you can go the cheap route (like me) and just buy dark curtains (because, as we all know, dark colors absorb more heat) or, you can even go dorm room chic and nail up an old blanket.
How to Winterize Your Doors:
Doors need to remain usable (stupid fire code). Find leaks and seal with caulk or wood fill, as above.
Replace the threshold if it’s worn, it will please the eye as well as the thermostat.
Add a sweep to the bottom. They’re available in different varieties: the bristly kind, the rubber kind, and the kind that automatically rises so it won’t get stuck on your carpet (I know!).
Check the door’s alignment. If it isn’t hanging straight, adjust the hinges and strike plate. This is your chance to break out the power tools, even though a Leatherman would probably do the trick.
Don’t forget yourgarage door! Add weather stripping to fill the gap between the bottom of the door and the ground. Adhere foam panels to the backside of the door with double-sided tape.
Winter’s coming, and with it, plunging temperatures and shorter days that make you want to curl up and relax, warm and cozy by the fire. As the coldness looms and you prepare to pump the heat, it’s important to protect your home from potential damage and address heat and energy leaks. These seven simple tasks will help you stay warm, safe and energy-conscious this winter. 1 Prepare your hearth for fire
Before getting chestnuts ready for the roasting, get your fireplace set for the fire. Grab a flashlight and look inside for build-up, bird’s nests or obvious cracks. From the outside, check for broken bricks and crumbling mortar. Ensure that your damper opens and closes and seals tightly. Clean out the ashes and remember that in addition to these steps, you should have your chimney professionally cleaned every other year (more often if you burn a lot of fires). Stock up on wood and kindling, and you’re ready for a comfy, cozy season by the fire. 2 Seal the windows
Seal drafty windows to keep heat in and energy bills low with one (or both) of these two simple tasks. First, caulk the cracks. Sold in temporary or permanent form, caulking is inexpensive and easy to apply. Second, cover your windows in a thin plastic film (available at any hardware store) and tape it down with waterproof double-sided tape, heating the edges with a hair dryer and pressing the protective layer into place. When it gets warmer outside, simply peel the film off, open the window, and let the sun shine in. 3 Clear out the gutters
Clogged gutters block the drainage of rain and melting snow, resulting in household leaks and damage to landscape and foundation. As fall sheds its last leaves, grab a ladder, a garbage bag, some rubber gloves and dig in. Remove everything, from twigs to leaves to caked-on dirt. Check that the downpipes are clear of obstruction and then ensure the entire system is un-clogged and leak-free by running water through it.
4 Prepare for winter storms
Don’t let a blizzard take you by storm―always have a fully-stocked emergency kit at hand. Include batteries, a flashlight, candles, matches and a lighter; warm clothes and blankets; a battery-powered radio; non-perishable food items and water (two liters per adult per day); a first-aid kit and specialty products like medicine, baby formula and pet food (if necessary). Store at least three days worth of supplies for everyone in your household.
5 Don’t forget about heating maintenance
Is your heating system ready to weather the winter? Have a professional check your heating system and ensure it’s in good working order before you turn it on. Schedule checks for your furnace, venting system and chimney. Don’t forget to replace the batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in case any of your heating systems are overworking.
6 Pad your pipes
A small frozen pipe can cause big household damage if it bursts, so pad your pipes to prevent floods. Grab some tubular pipe insulation sleeves from your local hardware store and set to task covering exposed pipes in unheated areas, such as a basement, attic, crawl space or cabinet. The pipe sleeves are easy to apply and can be cut to fit. Cover all exposed parts, including bends and joints. Finally, seal the seams with duct tape. With that simple task, you’re not only preventing considerable water damage, but also conserving energy.
7 Clean out your garage
Like your traditional spring cleaning, consider scheduling a traditional ‘fall cleaning’ of your garage. Organize the remains of your summer projects and clean and store gardening tools. Like a seasonal turning of your closet, push what you won’t be needing―the lawn-mower, hedge trimmer, rakes and summer toys―to the back and bring any winter necessities―shovels, snow blowers, skis and sleds―to the front. Set out salt and gravel containers, and you’ll thank yourself the first time the ice hits.
Clean the roof completely to remove the year’s accumulation of dirt, debris and leaves. Especially in areas with deep snow accumulations, the excess weight may stress the roof. Plus, accumulating organic matter encourages rot to invade your roof. Typically a shovel or broom – even a hose from the ground in some instances – makes short work of the job.
Inspect the roof during the cleaning to identify areas where shingles are missing, damaged or otherwise in need of repair. Look for other problems such as soft areas, chimney or vent damage and separating gutters. Hire a professional to perform the inspection and repair work.
Clean the gutters surrounding the roof. Move to the downspouts and ensure they are clear and in good repair.
Weatherproofing Your House Exterior
Rake away leaves and rotting vegetation from your house foundation.
Squirt expanding foam insulation or caulk into gaps and holes in your exterior house wall, such as around pipes or wires.
Check window wells surrounding basement windows. Remove debris and ensure the window is safe from potential damage. Install special plastic window shields as necessary.
Ensure your wood supply, if applicable, is separated from the house by at least 20 or 30 feet and covered with a plastic tarp or other moisture barrier. Open trash or recycling containers, woodpiles and similar collections invite rodents and pests to invade your home and enjoy the heat.
Inspect outbuildings and areas such as sheds and cellars or crawlspaces. Note any damage or potential problems. Secure windows and doors in these areas.
Drain garden hoses and insulate exposed water pipes as applicable.
Blow out or drain sprinkler systems.
Cover central air units with heavy protective material to block snow and ice. Have a professional open the unit cover and turn off the disconnect switch first to prevent accidental use in winter. Clean the outside of the unit, removing dirt and leaves, and allow it to dry before covering.
Remove window air conditioner units or cover permanently installed units.
Trim tree branches hanging over your house, electrical wires or outbuildings. Remove dead and damaged trees and branches.
Preparing Your Windows and Doors
Inspect windows to ensure the glass is in good condition and secure in the window frame. Check doors for structural stability. Replace or repair windows and doors as necessary. Upgrading old windows with newer, energy-efficient models will boost your utility savings.
Look for air gaps around window and doorframes. This proves easiest when it’s light on one side of the wall and dark on the other. Fill voids with a little low-expansion spray foam insulation designed for windows and doors. Once the foam cures, it is simply trimmed flush with the wall surface. Doors, especially, tend to leak air from around the frame and trim.
Replace or install weather stripping under entry doors and around windows.
Take down summer window screens and screen doors. Replace with storm windows and storm doors.
Hang plastic over windows or use shrink-wrap. Large windows, in particular, lose a tremendous amount of heat, especially older windows. Plastic sheeting placed over the inside of the window, if performed with care, doesn’t look that bad and will significantly lower your heating bill.
Winterizing With Insulation
If your house is fairly new, the insulation level is likely sufficient for your climate. Older homes, however, often installed insulation somewhat haphazardly – if at all – and you may pay for it with your wallet.
The easiest, most reliable method to ensure your insulation is up to keeping you warm is to have an energy audit performed. Some utility companies offer courtesy energy audits, or you can hire a professional. It’s also possible, in some cases, to verify the level of insulation by measuring the material and determining the total R-value by multiplying the depth by the insulation’s R-value per inch. Add more insulation, of the type desired, to obtain the R-value recommended for your area. Checking the insulation level in the attic is likely the easiest place for the DIYer to start, and one of the most important places since heat rises.
While adding insulation, if necessary, may prove the most costly step of your home winterization, you won’t have to do it again anytime soon. Better yet, you will get the money back, month by month, and in some areas rebates may be available. For more information, consult a professional.
Don’t forget about your water heater. Turn down your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and cover it with blanket insulation or a cover, as specified by the manufacturer. If your water heater is in an uninsulated area, this is even more important.
Interior Weatherization and Safety
Open any register vents or air returns inside your house. Vents may be wall mounted, in the floor or in the ceiling. Repair or replace damaged or loose vents.
Feel the wall around electrical outlets, pipes or wires leading to the outside. Seal and insulate as appropriate. Expanding foam insulation for windows and doors provides the benefits of both.
Reverse your ceiling fans to help circulate warm air that gathers near the ceiling. When the fan blades rotate clockwise, they push the warm air down to “reheat” the lower areas.
Mount smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, if you don’t already have them, or change the batteries if you do. Test each one to ensure it operates properly. The winter season, when heating appliances may emit carbon monoxide and burning fires and other potential hazards are common, is a good time to schedule this annual task as part of your winterization process.
Servicing Furnaces and Ductwork
Check the house thermostat to ensure it works properly. Replace old thermostats with newer, programmable models that allow you to set a lower temperature while you are away or asleep and raise the temperature only when you need it. According to the Department of Energy, lowering the temperature about 10 degrees for eight hours a day may save you up to 10 percent a year.
Change your furnace filter. Always follow the recommended filter change schedule according to the furnace and filter type. This may vary from monthly to perhaps every six months.
Check the furnace pilot light to see if it is lit. Turn on the furnace and blower to ensure the furnace ignites and completes a full cycle, from warming up to blowing heat and shutting off the blower again. Hire a professional to evaluate the furnace and determine if it operates safely and efficiently.
Shine a light into your ducts to look for evidence of mold, pests or accumulations of dirt and debris. The EPA states that there isn’t yet enough evidence to suggest regular cleanings are necessary. Instead, clean ducts when moldy or excessively dirty. Consult a professional for more information and cleaning assistance.
Inspect the heating ductwork. Look for holes and loose connections, tightening, taping or replacing pieces as necessary. Problem areas often occur where ducts meet the floor, ceiling or go through the wall.
Insulate ductwork that runs under your house or through unheated areas. Special blanket insulation makes insulating around the ducts easy, simple work. According to Energy Star, the typical house loses about 20 percent of the air flowing through the ducts due to holes, leaks and loose connections. Factoring in heat loss through uninsulated ducts, the amount is likely even higher.
Inspecting Fireplaces, Wood Stoves and Chimneys
Inspect the chimney if you have a fireplace or wood stove. Look for obstructions such as bird nests or leaves blocking the flue. Place screen and a chimney cap over the top of the chimney to prevent future problems.
Clean the chimney to remove any creosote buildup. Scrape the ashes and creosote out of the fireplace or wood stove when finished.
Check the fireplace or wood stove to ensure it operates properly. Hire a professional to assess the equipment if preferred.
Test the interior portion of the wood stove flue, between the stove and the wall where it exits. Make sure the connections are secure and the pipe is sound.
A Winter Weather Survival Kit
What would a discussion about winterizing your home be without mention of an emergency kit? If all else fails and you lose power, the sturdiest house won’t keep out the cold. Keeping supplies on hand to help you through a storm and power outage will help keep you safe. Gather a kit containing:
A battery-powered radio, especially a NOAA radio or two-way device.
Two or three blankets.
Seven days worth of non-perishable food and a can opener if needed.
Your home’s siding has a difficult job. It has to be attractive enough to make your home look good, and strong enough to withstand a life spent outdoors. There are lots of different types of sidings. They all have things that you should be conscious of when preparing for the winter months. Let’s briefly go through some popular types of siding and discuss their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to winter weather.
1. Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding is a very popular cladding option. That’s because not only is it durable and relatively inexpensive, it comes in a variety of colors and styles. However, you must care for care of it when winter weather hits. When vinyl siding is attached to your home, there is a small amount of space between the outer surface of your home and the back of the siding. It’s your job to make sure nothing gets inside that space. Winter storms can bring snow and rain which could leak behind the surface of your vinyl siding and cause serious water damage. Also, animals like mice, squirrels and termites could see the siding as the way into your nice warm home and eat through it.
2. Wood Siding
Stucco is made from a mixture of Portland cement, sand, lime and water. It’s an attractive, versatile building material that is often seen in hot, dry climates. Why do you usually see it there? Because water and stucco buildings don’t mix. Stucco is very porous, so water causes stucco to swell and warp. There is some hope for you if you like the look of stucco without the moisture problems. Stucco that is acrylic-based (instead of cement-based) doesn’t have the same aversion to moisture.
3. Stucco Siding
Track lights are pretty easy for the average homeowners to mount and use by themselves. They require only a basic knowledge of electrical wiring. Of course, if you prefer not to do it yourself, the ease with which they can be installed means that your contractor is in and out of your home in no time.
4. Aluminum Siding
Aluminum siding is sometimes seen as a comparable alternative to vinyl siding. That’s because both materials are easy on your wallet and can be made to look like other, more expensive materials. However, one common problem with aluminum siding is that it can be prone to dents. That means that if your area experiences hail, it could leave its mark on your home for long after the storm has passed.
Now that we’ve gone over a few popular siding options, let’s talk about some of the basic things you can do to make sure that whatever siding you have is prepared for winter.
5. Check siding for Cracks and Weak Spots
You need water to live, but it can cause big and expensive problems for you if it gets into places it’s not supposed to be. Mold, mildew and pests are just a few of the problems on your hands if you have water damage. Make sure your siding doesn’t have any places where water can collect and do damage.
6. Make any Necessary Repairs
If you do spot problems with your home’s siding, address them right away. Don’t let problems fester and become worse – fix them. If you don’t feel comfortable fixing them yourself, find a professional you can trust to do the work for you. You can use RedBeacon.com to find trusted pros in your area and get a quote quickly.
7. Keep the Cold Air Out, and the Warm Air In
You spend a lot of money heating your home during the winter months. Make sure your money isn’t going to waste. By making sure your siding is ready for winter, you make sure that it’s strong enough to keep the winter air outside where it belongs.
When it comes to saving money on monthly utility bills, homeowners have a seemingly endless list of updates to choose from. Major appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and washer/dryers are much more efficient and have shorter cycle times than their older counterparts. Low-flow plumbing fixtures and tankless water heaters all help reduce water waste and usage.
Another energy-conscious renovation homeowners can implement doesn’t exist inside of the home but actually surrounds the home itself: insulated vinyl siding. There are a number of benefits (as well as several disadvantages) to choosing insulated vinyl siding, many related to its energy efficiency.
Better insulation = more savings
A home’s siding is a crucial line of defense against seasonal weather and temperature changes. A poorly insulated exterior leads to heat loss in the winter and cooling loss in the summer. In terms of its impact on a home’s interior temperature, think of uninsulated vinyl siding as a window or door being left open in the middle of winter. Insulated vinyl siding’s ability to maintain interior temperatures can drastically reduce an air conditioning and heating system’s workload and energy consumption.
One of the selling points of insulated vinyl siding is its durability and ease of care, which saves homeowners from having to expend their own energy—not to mention time and money—on future maintenance and upkeep costs. Compared to other types of siding, however, homeowners sacrifice the ease of updating the look of their home; vinyl siding cannot be painted or restained once it’s fabricated, meaning you will need to tear down and reinstall an entirely new set of vinyl siding to change your home’s appearance.
Less maintenance, improved performance
Made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) resins and acrylics, vinyl siding in general requires less maintenance than most other types of siding. Today’s vinyl siding comes in a virtually endless variety of color and texture options that are engineered to withstand the elements and keep a fresh appearance far longer than older vinyl siding did. Moreover, vinyl will not rot over time, it doesn’t attract termites and other bugs, and for the most part, maintenance involves only an occasional spray with a garden hose to rinse off accumulating dirt. However, without proper installation, potential moisture damage can lead to mold and mildew problems.
Insulated vinyl siding in particular is more durable than standard vinyl. Panels backed with insulation keep their shape better during the periods of expansion and contraction that all outdoor vinyl products undergo, reducing moisture buildup and seam or gap problems. Insulated vinyl also offers higher resistance to dents and surface damage. The presence of the insulation itself provides the siding with greater resiliency. Homeowners who choose insulated vinyl siding over non-insulated vinyl for their home may therefore realize savings on both interior and exterior costs: its energy efficiency saves money on heating and cooling bills, and its durability saves money and effort on exterior home maintenance.
The “green” side of vinyl siding
The “greenest” point about insulated vinyl siding is of course its capacity to reduce a household’s energy consumption by preserving the home’s interior temperature. But more than simply conserving resources within the home, insulated vinyl siding is a “green” siding option on a larger scale, due in part to the recycling processes inherent to its manufacturing. Scrap vinyl resulting from manufacturing processes can easily and immediately be reprocessed into batches of material for new siding. However, post-consumer siding is harder to recycle and usually sent to landfills.
The manufacturing process of vinyl siding has also proved to release fewer toxic chemicals and emit less dioxins into the atmosphere and environment than other exterior cladding materials. Unlike wood siding, for example, vinyl requires less fuel to transport, produces fewer factory emissions during production, and is completely lead free. It’s important to note that vinyl does release carcinogenic compounds during production as well as if caught on fire; it is more at risk than other types of siding to direct heat, meaning homeowners must be extra careful when grilling or building an outdoor fire in a fire pit near the home.
Vinyl siding today
With industry advancements in material durability, not to mention the close resemblance to wood offered by insulated vinyl, many contractors and DIY-enthusiasts find that the wide variety of vinyl’s colors and textures can create the perfect aesthetic for a home.
There are several steps that can be easily accomplished that will not only save you from experiencing “Niagara Falls” in your home but can also save you a little money and energy as well.
1. Seal all windows: Ensure your windows are properly caulked and insulated. A visual inspection of the exterior caulking will allow you to see gaps or deteriorating material. Replace as necessary. A drafty window can be identified by taking a lit candle around the interior perimeter of the window. If there is a draft but the caulking is good, then it is possible there is inadequate window insulation. Check by carefully removing the window trim and then insert insulation into the open gaps with insulation. Also, this process works well with electrical plugs and switches located on an exterior wall that make the candle flicker.
2. Seal all doors: After making sure that they are well-insulated, ensure that the weather stripping around the doors is in good shape. If you can see light outside when the door is closed, it is a good sign that the weather seal needs to be replaced. Replace as necessary. Doors with poor weather stripping have been compared to having an open window in your home during the winter.
3. Turn off and drain exterior water spigots: Needless to say, and as a benefit to our readers, turn off the outside spigots from the inside of your home, then open the spigots to allow any remaining water to drain out. I have also witnessed frost free water spigots that have actually frozen because the water was not turned off inside of the home and the line properly drained from the outside. I would advise to close and drain them as well to be on the safe side.
4. Clean the gutters: Once all the leaves have fallen, clean and rinse the gutters and downspouts. Clean gutters will help allow the snow and ice to melt and drain properly to lessen the chances of ice damming.
5. Verify adequate insulation and ventilation in your attic: Attics are designed to breath and keep cool during the winter
6. Do some general changing: Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the direction of your ceiling fans to pull the warm air near the ceiling down along the walls, making the room warmer. Change your furnace filter — this simple process can improve your indoor air quality and save you money on monthly heating bills.
7. Prepare your lawn: Make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood!! Mulch and remove all large leaves and debris. Cutting the grass shorter than normal will allow the lawn to properly breathe during the winter and spring. This is also an excellent time for aerating.
Inspecting your home’s siding and exterior elevations is another important pre-winter step homeowners should take during their routine maintenance inspection. Siding can take a beating during the cold winter months in the Midwest and should be checked to make sure that it is in good condition and able to keep the home warm and dry. In addition, while inspecting the siding one should also check the auxiliary components of the exterior elevations including the doors, windows, fascia and soffit.
Inspecting the homes siding and exterior elevations is straightforward and shouldn’t require a lot of time to complete. Regardless of the type of siding you have, the objective of this fall maintenance checkup is to uncover basic signs of damage or areas where potential damage may occur if left unattended.
How To Inspect Siding and Exterior Elevations
Loose Siding: Check all elevations for loose siding. Most manufactured siding like vinyl, steel and aluminum are both fastened to the building as well as interlocked between each piece. If any loose siding is found, check to make sure that it is fastened securely to the home before snapping it back into place.
Cracked, Chipped or Broken Siding: Siding that is cracked, chipped or broken should be repaired to ensure that water cannot penetrate behind it and cause further problems. Many times minor damage of this nature can easily be repaired by either swapping out a damaged piece of siding with a new one, a tube of caulk or make-shift patch if need be. If damage extends beyond a more elementary fix, consider calling a professional for a repair.
Remove Vegetation: Clear any trees, shrubs or other vegetation that may be touching the siding. Winter wind or ice storms can quickly turn a seemingly harmless branch too close to the home, into an unnecessary midwinter repair.
Storage: For similar reasons, be sure to clear any stored items that are stacked, leaned, or otherwise touching the siding.
Caulking: Check the caulking on all major seams or areas where each elevation of siding is interrupted. For example, where two walls meet, a roof slope meets the siding, or items protrude from the siding (i.e. dryer vents, around windows, doors, etc.). Look for loose, cracked or missing caulking and re-caulk as needed. When re-caulking a seam, remember to remove any old caulk and clean the area before applying.
Weather Stripping: Another quick and simple fix that will save on winter heating bills is to check that all the weather stripping on the windows, doors and garage doors are in good condition. Good weather stripping keeps stops the cold winter drafts from stealing heat from the home. Most lengths of new weather stripping can be purchased for less than $10 and can install in less than 5 minutes.
Soffits: Make sure all soffits are not broken, blown-in, sagging, or otherwise unsecured. Not only can winter winds blow snow up into the attic, the soffits or eaves often make a perfect entry for critters looking to escape the cold.
Fascia: When inspecting fascia, it is most important to just ensure that they are not loose to where a heavy wind or strong gust could pull them off. When in doubt, a few small nails can help tack it into place.