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The Valentine’s Day holiday is one of the most popular consumer holidays in the U.S, and in many countries across the world. As a holiday marketed to and overtly centered on relationships and couples and everything symbolic of connection, and friendship, and love, it is also a common day for sadness, depression, and other emotional chaos.
True Meaning of Valentine’s Day
To add some perspective, the thing about Valentine’s Day is that it doesn’t actually mean anything–and even to many people in stable, successful relationships, it is just another day in mid-February. The social importance placed on Valentine’s Day is typically overemphasized by advertising, so there is really no reason to get too worked up over the holiday–especially if you have a history of feeling bad during this one day of the year.
When you look at Valentine’s Day as little more than a branded holiday where your desire to connect with others or show appreciation or affection is swiftly commandeered by retail stores, restaurants, and virtually everyone else wanting your consumer patronage, the authority of the holiday is kind of lost.
It’s Only One Day
When your heart is in the gutter on another Valentine’s Day, just picture the overworked advertising executive tirelessly trying to finalize her campaign to convince you that your loneliness can be solved by going into debt for some material good.
The absurdity of the picture should give some perspective on the contrived importance the Valentine’s Day holiday creates. If you have cause to celebrate Valentine’s Day, do so. But if the thought of another Valentine’s Day holiday alone among all of the perceived happy couples is getting you down, remember that no relationship or personal connection hinges on any holiday, much less an expressly romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day, and there is always someone who has it worse than you.
Unlike many other larger, worldwide official holidays, Valentine’s Day is typically much more exaggerated in scope by media and advertising. The potential for connection and true love are always present, and don’t begin or end on the 14th of February.
As cold temperatures set in and fall progresses, it is time to start thinking about preparing for winter storms. Snow and ice have already come to some parts of the U.S and will soon be everywhere. With this arrival of below freezing temperatures and winter storms comes the risk of ice dams on homes and buildings. Preventing ice dams should be a top concern during the winter as these can be responsible for serious water damage to the roof and walls of structures. Preventing ice dams is a multi-faceted endeavor that requires inspecting the insulation and ventilation in your home, as well as the condition of your roof and gutters. Be sure to carefully inspect each one of these components to determine what needs improvement before the snow falls. Here are some helpful tips to prevent ice dams entirely.
Clean Out Rain Gutters
The first thing to do is clean out the rain gutters of leaves and debris. This should be done thoroughly a couple times a year to ensure that water flows freely through the gutters and to prevent buildup of detritus in the gutters. In the fall, leaves and other matter clog gutters and prevent water from flowing freely. When temperatures drop, this material can freeze and contribute to the formation of ice dams. Now is the time to completely clean out your rain gutters and ensure that they are in good condition for winter. Make sure obstructions are removed and that downspouts point away from the foundation to keep runoff away from the home.
Inspect Attic Insulation & Ventilation
Check the insulation in the attic to ensure that heat is retained in the living quarters of the home and does not escape through the attic. Too much heat buildup in the attic can melt snow and ice on the roof, create runoff into the gutters, re-freeze, and lead to ice dams. Ensure that the insulation is a proper grade and that it sufficiently fills the attic space. Also, make sure that the attic is properly ventilated to keep cold air circulating.
These two measures combined should help prevent runoff from the roof from freezing in the gutters and forming ice dams. As snow and ice melt, it is most important that the water runs freely through the gutters and to the ground. Ice dams become a problem when this process is impeded from attic heat buildup and clogged gutters.
Inspect the Roof
Last but most important is to inspect the roof structure and shingles to ensure that they are in good condition to withstand winter storms and heavy ice and snow. Most shingles need to be replaced every 5-6 years, depending on factors like climate, quality of the shingles, and overall wear. Have a look at the shingles and note if they are peeling, folding, or loose. If so, consider having the shingles replaced.
Also, don’t overlook the roof structure itself. Get in the attic and look for degradation in the wood or weaknesses that could be signs of structural problems. If you notice any sagging or horizontal cracks, contact a professional roofing company for a complete inspection and possible replacement. Doing this before the arrival of snow and ice is important for comfort and safety throughout the winter.
Having quality home siding is important to protect your home from the elements, withstand specific weather conditions where you live, and help promote energy efficiency in your home. James Hardie fiber cement siding is a good choice for quality home siding, as it provides durability and safety with low maintenance and good value. Investing in a quality siding will help insulate and protect your home and give it a pleasing aesthetic. James Hardie siding is developed to suit the climate of your location.
The HardieZone System uses eight climatic variables to analyze environmental factors that cause damage to your home and manufactures siding unique to the regional weather conditions of your area. The siding is engineered for better paint adhesion and moisture resistance. Over time, of course, materials break down and weathering isn’t the only factor that leads to deterioration of siding. Exterior paint can peel and moisture can lead to rot in low quality siding. James Hardie fiber cement siding is resistant to these problems and can withstand adverse weather conditions better than other sidings.
The importance of energy efficient building materials is hard to overstate when the demand and cost of energy continues to rise. Siding is a home building material that is often overlooked for its contribution to home energy efficiency. Protecting and helping insulate the home from outdoor weather conditions is huge benefit of home siding. A quality siding, like James Hardie, will also contribute to a positive environmental impact since the siding is constructed using raw, recycled materials. When choosing siding for your home, it is important to go with a siding that is going to last and provide tangible benefits to your home. James Hardie siding is a superior siding that is both durable, resistant, and sustainably produced.
Trees, in general, are a great part of the natural landscape of any yard. Trees provide shade, oxygen, and a pleasant aesthetic around the exterior of your property. Trees also provide a lot of leaves and can pose a risk to structures if they are damaged or destroyed during a storm. Overall, the benefits of trees far outweigh the potential disadvantages or risks, but you should always consider the placement of the trees in your yard–especially when planting new trees. The location and type of tree play a critical role in distribution of shade and leaves around your property. When planting trees, thinking about location and variety of tree is an important part of determining how the tree will function in your yard and, in terms of yard and gutter maintenance, how often you will be raking and clearing leaves.
Planting trees strategically will improve the aesthetics of your yard, as well as keep trees from growing into and interfering with utility lines, structural foundations, and roofs. Certain varieties of trees are best suited to certain parts of the yard, and certain sizes of yards. Large pine trees or willow trees may not be suitable for smaller yards where the space between the yard and the house is limited. These types of large trees are also not best suited to locations very near the foundation or side of the house. Beyond potential damage to your home from branches or collapse from high winds, large deciduous trees will clog your rain gutters with leaves that can impede water flow, become obstructions and cause ice dams in the winter. These trees near the home require regular leaf removal maintenance and can be problematic during thunderstorms. Often smaller, thinner, or less leafy trees are optimal.
Tree Trimming & Rain Gutter Maintenance
If you have a lot of leafy trees in your yard, keeping them maintained can be an ongoing challenge. You will need to ensure that branches growing near utility lines remained trimmed and that leaves are regularly cleared from rain gutters. Often problematic trees can be pruned by a tree service company or the power company if they are interfering with utility lines. You should still be aware of how and where the trees in your yard are growing and perform regular grooming on them when necessary. Part of this maintenance involves, inevitably, cleaning out your rain gutters. This is usually a fall activity when deciduous trees shed their leaves, but if there are pine trees near your home or your gutters have been neglected for awhile, you may need to do this task more regularly. Even thin pine needles can collect in and clog the gutters. Cleaning the gutters of leaves and other debris will ensure that your rain gutters function as they are meant to and are reliable year round.
The gutters of your home serve an important function in keeping your home protected from damaging weather. To keep this protection in your home, it is important to further protect your rain gutters from leaves, debris, ice, snow, and other dangers that may come this way. At Rain Gutter Specialties, we have three different systems to help keep damage from happening to your rain gutters. Choose the gutter protection system that will best suit your needs, ensuring your gutters will continue to serve your home.
First it is important to examine what gutters do to protect your home. This protection is especially important during the months of the highest precipitation. Your roof is designed to allow rain to tumble down the sides, preventing it from pooling and causing damage. Without gutters, this water falls directly around the sides of your home, seeping into the foundation. Over time the seeping will cause damage, cracking the foundation and allowing water damage into your home. Gutters will be the first and most effective defense here.
Even with gutters sometimes these dangers can occur if the proper steps of protection aren’t taken. Because of this Rain Gutter Specialties has additional protection that can be added to your gutters. These three protections will keep leaves and other debris out of your gutters, requiring less time for you in cleaning them out.
There are three main types of gutter protection offered by Rain Gutter Specialties. Each of these have been designed to withstand the elements, all while allowing water to enter your gutters and effectively drain down the right channels:
- The Solution – this consists of a high quality aluminum design that prevents gutters from overflowing while still stopping leaves from entering. This system is ideal for both older and newer gutters as it can be applied to both. Rather than trapping leaves just outside the gutters, this system will stop leaves from getting stuck here.
- Leaf Terminator – this system works similarly to The Solution, and is useful on both a residential and industrial level. This system has a water flow ridge and valleys which will prevent leaves from entering the gutters. They still will be able to withstand heavy rainfall.
- Gutter Topper – the gutter topper is unique in design and comes from the experience of Rain Gutter Specialties. It is effective in keeping all debris out of the gutters, as well as withstanding winds and rains that reach up to hurricane levels. This gutter protection will last, delivering the best protection.
There are a few ways to better protect your gutters from the elements. Make the changes by adding this additional strength to your gutters, ensuring they will be prepared to stand during any weather situation without additional maintenance.
Fall is coming fast and with that a need to prepare your yard for winter. One of the most important things to take care of is removing leaves, dirt, and other debris from the gutters. Rather than just throwing this organic material away, there are things that can be done to recycle and make this useful. Look into just a few of the ways you can reuse your rain gutter matter, making improvements in your yard. As you use this material, it is best for most of these projects to further cut up the material either with a leaf compost or by other means.
Fertilize the Lawn
Rather than using a leaf compost here, you can simply spread the leaf mixture across your lawn and go over it with a lawn mower. While leaving leaves that fall directly from your tree on the lawn without any change will be damaging, breaking it up will make it easier to decompose, bringing many benefits to your lawn. This will add nitrogen to the soil, all while still allowing oxygen and sun to come through keeping the grass healthy.
Take the matter from your gutters and place them in with your perennial plants that will need to brave through the winter. the mulch can be used as a protection against the freeze while giving these plants extra nutrients. Be sure not to pile this on too thick right against the trunk of the plants, but instead around the bed to make them more effective. In addition to this, you can use this mulch on your garden after the harvest to keep the ground fertilized and ready for the next season.
Halloween comes right around the time when gutters will need to be cleaned out and leaves are falling off the trees. Use this time to use both the matter from your gutter as well as these fallen leaves to create your halloween decorations. During this season there are halloween themed bags with anything from pumpkins to witches. These range in size, some coming as big as garbage bags. Stuff these full with the leave matter to get rid of the unnecessary as well as decorate your home. This will be beneficial especially to those looking to decorate on a budget.
While the rain gutter material can be damaging to your gutters, it will be beneficial to other parts of your yard. Make sure the material is far enough torn apart if you use it for fertilizer or mulch. Reap these natural benefits straight from your gutters.
While the heat of summer is still upon us, soon fall will be here. Start thinking about your home preparations for this coming autumn, taking care of both the big and the little things. By making these changes around your home, the transition between these seasons will occur more seamlessly, keeping away the all too common problems.
Seal the Cracks
An alarming amount of energy is lost through your home every day through cracks in your home. This includes not only cracking in the foundation and walls, but the small space between windows and doors where air can escape. Before getting into the months where cold weather nips at the door, get these cracks sealed and the weathering strips between doors and windows replaced if they are out of date. This will help raise the energy efficiency of your home this coming winter, keeping your bills lower than ever before.
Get the Roof Checked
This is especially important for those living in an area that receives high amounts of snowfall every year. Rather than waiting to find out what damage will be delivered, get your roof checked during or right before fall. Remove any debris that has congregated here as well as looking for damaged shingles. Getting these small things fixed early will help avoid a bigger problem down the road.
Clean Out the Gutters
Fall and winter will come with an increase of precipitation that cannot be ignored. To keep the foundation of your home safe from water damage, make sure your rain gutters are in top condition. This includes removing debris from the gutters, and checking the downspouts for potential problems. During a rainstorm go outside and watch how the water falls off the roof. The majority should be flowing through the downspouts without any issue.
Get the Driveway Repaired
Winter can be hard on your foundation and driveway. Cracks that have already begun to form will be made worse because of the cold. When water makes its way into these cracks, the cold will freeze it and cause more damage to be done. While the initial cost of repairing your driveway might be high, the lasting benefits will be well worth it.
Start thinking about the maintenance issues you will need to attend to this fall. By taking part in each of these checks, you will lessen the damage that fall and the subsequent winter can deliver. Better protect your home from damage now before the weather starts to shift.