Gutter and Roof: Replace worn or damaged roof shingles or flash- ing, and clean out the gutters to prevent ice dams. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and stops melting snow from draining. This causes backed-up water to leak into the home. Clean your gutters to ensure proper drainage, and install gutter covers to prevent debris accumulation. Proper attic ventilation also removes heat and keeps the roof deck evenly cool to prevent uneven melting of the ice. Chimneys: Have a pro chimney sweep inspect, clean, and repair any fireplaces, flues, or wood stoves. Add chimney or flue caps to keep out birds and pests. Tuck- point or repair any loose masonry, and make sure the dampers work on fireplaces and stoves.
Attic: Inspect the attic for evi- dence that the weather seal of the house has been broken. Check for any wet or damp insulation and moldy, rotted attic rafters or ceiling joists, any of which could indicate a leaky roof. Address any problems before they can worsen.
Basement/Foundation: Install covers over the crawlspace ventila- tion openings. Cover basement windows with plastic shields. Rake leaves and debris away from the foundation. Seal foundation cracks and other openings to keep out mice and other pests.
KEEP PESTS AWAY Some pests disappear during winter, but not all. In fact, cold, wet or snowy weather is likely to drive pests to seek the warmth and shelter of the indoors. Sealing your home will go a long way toward keeping them outside. Eliminating conditions in your home that appeal to pests, such as open food containers, will also help reduce the attraction. Sink and floor drains often accumulate gunk that can attract pests and provide an ideal breeding site, especially for small flies, so clean and disinfect these areas. Store recyclables outside and away from your home and make sure all con- tainers are thoroughly rinsed and have tight-fitting lids. To reduce flying bugs around doors and windows, replace stan- dard mercury vapor lights with high-pressure sodium vapor or halogen lights. Bulbs that have pink, yellow or orange tints are less attractive to flying insects. The EHT staff periodically sprays our homes with the same house- hold insect repellents commonly available at homes stores. In many cases, the insecticide is the same chemical used by professionals, although professionals occasionally Covers for attic doors and window air conditioners can reduce drafts during winter. Seal your home not just from cold weather but from pests also. Radarcan offers an electronic pest repeller that wards off mice and cockroaches by emitting ultrasound waves.