Winter has come, now what?

There are a lot of things that we do to prepare for winter, and the checklist that we provided to you in one of our earlier posts is a great reminder and in printable form. But what about the things that we need to know about once winter has come?  Here are some fun and interesting pieces of information when winter hits your home.

  1. Being in the Pacific Northwest we are all very familiar with moss due to our moist environment (rainy is probably a better term) moss grows rapidly. Did you know that moss doesn’t die during the winter months in the Pacific Northwest? That’s because it doesn’t get cold enough. In fact, moss grows more rapidly! YIKES!
    • Fun Fact: Moss is a plant that grows naturally on just about any surface, including the ground, trees, sidewalks, patios, sides of homes, trailers, and of course roofs. Moss produces tiny spores that become air-borne and land on roofs with just a simple gust of wind. During the moist, cooler months, these spores grow into moss. Moss can be a very expensive thing to remove if you let it get out of hand, that’s why at Force Washing we recommend that you keep on top of your annual moss removal with us. Did you know that you can setup an annual appointment and leave it to us to contact you and schedule your moss removal and moss treatment to keep that pesky moss away!
  2. DO NOT get on your roof to remove unwanted snow.
    • While it could be dangerous to let a large accumulation of snow sit on your roof due to its weight, it should be left to professionals to remove. Roof anchors can be installed and used to secure professionals to the roof enabling a safer and secure method to be on a frozen slippery roof while removing snow.
    • Roof anchors can be permanently installed to assure that any work on your roof by professionals is done safely. Force Washing can install those for you when we are cleaning your roof.
  3. Frozen Downspouts, what do you do? The good news is we live in an area that doesn’t stay cold for long which means, simply leaving your frozen downspouts alone is the best option because the snow and or ice will melt.
    • If you have snow buildup around the bottom of the downspout, clear it of snow to allow the melt off to freely leave the downspout.
    • Consistently frozen solid downspouts not cleared away may require immediate attention, especially if the weather report says longer periods of colder weather is ahead because over time the ice can back up into your gutters which creates extra weight on your gutter system. This weight may increase the odds of your gutters and downspouts tearing away from your roof or siding, which can lead to bigger problems involving water leaks and improper drainage.
  4. Icicles and Ice Dams – huh?
    • An icicle forms when the sun is shining during subfreezing weather snow or ice melts by the sunlight but refreezes as it drips away. As this happens, the run off will continue to cause the icicle to grow.
    • An Ice Dam are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining.  It occurs when you have ineffective insulation allowing the home to lose heat. The heat escapes through the roof and that causes the bottom of the snow accumulation to melt. The melted snow slowly trickles down the roof and refreezes when it reaches unheated eaves causing a blockage. Melted snow starts to backup and can seep under your shingles and drip down into the attic and that can increase your chances for the water to seep further into your home.
    • Ice Dams should be looked at by a professional to be removed and consideration should be made to the home owner of insulating the home further to prevent this problem in the future.
  5. So, how do you remove icicles or do you?
    • Let’s talk about preventing icicles first…the best way to prevent icicles from forming in the first place is to clean out gutters before freezing temps hit. This will help to keep items like leaves from clogging the downspouts and allowing water to build up.  Here is where Force Washing can help you again, cleaning gutters is one of many specialties that we have and we are VERY good at it, just look at the reviews that we have gotten from our customers as proof!
    • But let’s say you didn’t have a chance to schedule that appointment to clean your gutters and the inevitable happens, cold temperatures followed by some NW sun; ICICLES!
    • The number one thing for you to remember here is DO NOT KNOCK DOWN THE ICICLES YOURSELF!  Falling ice is unpredictable and you could run the risk of hurting yourself or someone nearby. The other thing that knocking them down yourself could do is bring the gutter system with it which can be a costly expense. The best thing to do is call a professional who more than likely will get on the roof and use a tool to knock the icicles down safely with no people or animals around.
  6. Hanging lights on your home. While we know many of you are very happy to do this yourselves, we would like to offer a little advice that will make this a painless and fun experience.
    • Check your ladder. Each year before you use your ladder, we recommend checking it thoroughly for safety. Is it still in good working order? Is it rusted; if so think twice before using it.
    • Never hang lights on your home alone, get a partner to be there with you during the process. A partner can spot you on the ladder, can hand you the light strings so they don’t get tangled on the ground, and its always fun to hang lights with someone so you both can say “ooh” when the lights work!
    • Make sure your ladder is firmly planted on the most level ground you can find and lock it in place. Follow the National Safety Council’s advice, “Always keep three points of contact with a ladder – two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. When using a ladder, use one with slip-resistant feet and wear clean, dry and slip-resistant shoes.”
    • Make sure to use a surge protector if you can, and make sure electrical connections are clear, clean and dry.

We hope you found this information helpful. To all of you, from all of us we wish you a very joyous holiday and a happy new year!

Your friends at Force Washing, LLC.

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