Winter can have a disastrous impact on all elements of roofing, mostly because they take the brunt of the cold and humidity. An inspection before the cold season hits can cut heating costs, as well as save money in structural repairs caused by things like damaged shingles or flashing. Homeowners would do well to prepare for winter using some of the information below.

Clean Gutters

Gutters are supposed to provide a way to drain water away from the house. When the gutters are full of debris, they can retain water instead of draining it. When the temperatures are below zero, this can create an ice dam. The dam doesn’t just keep the gutters full; it also prevents water, snow, and ice from leaving the roof. In turn, this can damage the shingles, fascia, and even the structure of the home. To prevent this, homeowners should clean the gutters and make sure they are securely connected to the house.

Inspect Flashing

There are a lot of areas that use flashing as an added sealer. Over time, this flashing can come loose in spots and cause leaks or erosion of the other roofing materials. It may not always be obvious if the leak is small, but once moisture gets in there and freezes, the problem only gets bigger. This doesn’t just mean dripping water inside the home, either. These leaks can let moisture in without detection so that mold and mildew begin to form on the structural materials and insulation inside the home. It’s best to have a professional inspect these areas, but at the very least, add a coat of sealer as preventative maintenance.

Replace Shingles

Heavy winds and extreme temperatures can cause shingles to come loose or erode. It’s a good idea to inspect the shingles before the cold season and replace any that are loose or damaged. Homeowners should pay attention to how many shingles need to be replaced, and assess whether it might be a good idea to have the roofing redone completely. While it’s normal for extreme weather to cause damage to shingles, having to replace a significant quantity of them because of erosion could be a sign that more will need to be replaced soon.

Inspect the Attic

The attic plays a significant role in home heating costs. Attics that are damaged or improperly insulated lead to heat loss over the winter. In turn, they can also cause ice and snow to build up. Many people tend to operate under the belief that the buildup of snow on the roof helps insulate the home. This is true to some extent, but snow is heavy on the roof, and because of its cold temperature, it can damage the materials meant to protect a home from moisture and extreme temperatures. Homeowners should inspect the insulation in the attic for mold and mildew, and then do a thermal scan to see where heat may be escaping the attic.

These are some of the most common areas that need attention before the cold season hits. Every year that an inspection is done, repairs are made, or insulation is added, heating and cooling costs may drop significantly.