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Winterize homes before the blizzards hit

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published December 4, 2019

METRO DETROIT — Snowfall and cold temperatures have hit southeast Michigan relatively early this year, but those looking to protect their homes for the upcoming winter season still have time.

Many homeowners aim to “winterize” their houses annually, as a method of both precaution and pragmatism. This can include doing manual labor, such as clearing gutters of leaves and debris, or hiring reputable companies that can do the work in a safer and timelier manner.

Mark Zampino is the owner of Preferred Seamless Gutters. Headquartered in Imlay City, but serving southeast Michigan 52 weeks a year, the company primarily removes and installs new gutters and downspouts.

Plugged downspouts cause gutters to overflow and can potentially damage a home’s perimeter. That could lead to water in basements.

Zampino said the fall season is a “big time” for the company in terms of clientele. Kids are back at school, vacations are over, and people attempt to finish home-based projects before the freeze hits.

“They’re taking care of the items of their house that they’ve neglected,” he said.

That includes working in yards and noticing that gutters are sagging, or downspouts are not properly draining.

The company says that it is the largest United States installer of ProFlo — an all-aluminum leaf guard that is invisible from ground level and keeps debris out of new or existing gutters. It involves less maintenance and decreases the risk of perilous situations, like standing 12 feet off the ground on a wobbly ladder.

“If they have a lot of trees around their house, we do recommend (ProFlo),” Zampino said. “Or, if they’ve experienced overflow due to leaves and debris in their gutters plugging them.”

When the company performs leaf guard installations on existing gutters, it comes with a full cleaning and a tuneup — including the sealing of corners and checking of hangers. The company’s work comes with a five-year unlimited warranty for workmanship and materials.

Zampino added that homeowners should identify if they have nail-on gutters. If so, he said they should consider a new gutter system with a hanging system that involves stainless steel screws. Gutters won’t sag and the pitching won’t change.

“A lot of our older clients that can’t do it anymore, they want the peace of mind of their gutters not overflowing and not worrying about cleaning them,” he said.

All winter preparations do not take place outdoors.

Justin Pate is the owner of Michigan Air Duct Cleaning, headquartered in Clinton Township. His business offers air duct cleaning, chimney cleaning and dryer vent cleaning.

His busiest period is the fall, simply due to the fact that “everyone’s turning their heat on.” He said people want their ducts cleaned prior to heavily running the furnace.

Other times to get ducts cleaned are when dust builds up or when allergies act up. It’s recommended that duct cleanings take place at least once every three years, based on averages of dust debris accumulation — and even sometimes mice.

The average job runs between 1 1/2 and 2 hours.

“We use giant vacuums, so we have a 6-foot vacuum blade in the back of a truck and use the truck engine to power it,” Pate said.

The vacuum pulls at eight times the cubic feet per minute that the furnace pushes, he said. A high-powered air compressor is utilized to thoroughly brush and agitate the ducting system.