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Prevent water damage: Tips for outside the home.

Things you can do Outside your home to stop water from getting in

• Disconnect downspouts from the municipal sewer system. Extend downspouts at least 6 feet (1.8 metres) away from your exterior walls if possible and drain away from your house towards the street or backyard.

• Install a rain barrel to minimize the amount of surface water that could overload drainage systems and otherwise enter your home. Empty it regularly (especially after a heavy rain) and disconnect it over the winter.

• Inspect your roof regularly and replace aging or worn shingles — check flashing and caulking around chimneys and vents — replace when necessary.

• Grade the ground around your home to slope away from foundation walls.

• Before temperatures drop to freezing in late fall/early winter, turn off the water supply to outdoor taps and faucets, then open the taps to drain completely. Leave taps in the open position until spring.

• Keep eavestroughs and downspouts clear of leaves and other debris — clean out at least once a year – late fall is a good time.

• A leaky roof in winter is often the result of ice damming — to prevent ice dams from forming, make sure your attic is properly insulated, install a waterproof membrane under the shingles. Don’t try to clear ice and snow from your roof yourself — hire a professional.