As a home owner you are sure to have a seasonal and annual maintenance and repair checklist that you work off of to ensure that your home is well-maintained—and protected against the elements and water damage. While some of your ongoing maintenance and repairs will need to be conducted by a professional, there are several DIY weatherproofing tasks you can complete yourself to help reduce the risk, expense, and destructive effects of water damage. The 4 tips below are an excellent place to begin.

Tip #1 Assess Your Home

Regardless of the weather or time of year, is good to get into the habit of walking through both the interior and exterior of your home on a quarterly basis. What you are looking for is new wear and tear, cracks, or other damage that has occurred that you may not have noticed. Pay particular attention to areas that are out of sight such as attics, basements, corners, ceilings, your foundation—and if you are brave, your roof. Document any changes in condition, and take pictures and measurements so you can keep an eye on whether or not items you decide to hold off on are worsening.

Tip #2 Pay Close Attention To Your Windows And Doors

One thing that windows and doors have in common, is that they are both designed to let the outdoor weather in—but only when you choose. That being said, when it comes to rain, sleet, hail, and snow—the potential for water damage is high, so you must ensure that the seals on your windows and doors are sound. Even the smallest of cracks can allow in enough moisture for mold to grow—and severely damaged seals can let in unlimited amounts of water. Even if you do not possess the DIY weatherproofing skills to repair or replace faulty seals, it falls on your shoulders as the homeowner to identify areas of opportunity.

Tip #3 Invest In A Sump Pump

Even if you have a sump pump, you need to check it periodically to ensure that it is working properly. Floods continue to be the most common natural disaster in the US, and even a fairly minor flood can lead to several tens of thousands of dollars in damages, and lost possessions. To ensure your sump pump is working properly, lift the flow on the side, and listen for the distinct pump noise. Also consider adding a water alarm system to your pump to alert you to both when the pump is not working—or when flooding has occurred.

Tip #4 Clean, Maintain, and Upgrade Your Gutters

The gutters on the exterior of your home play a vital role in reducing the likelihood of costly water damage—so they must be kept clean and well maintained. Dirt, debris, and leaves are the most common culprit when it comes to gutter blockage—so it is essential that they are cleaned at both the beginning and end of each rainy season. Also check the gutter for cracks, dents, or damage. If your gutters are old, or do not have debris blocking covers—consider an upgrade.

The DIY weatherproofing tips above take a minimal amount of time, and hold the potential to save you a significant amount in water damage.