Fall Property Maintenance

Remember last January?

  • You had to tear into a wall to replace a frozen pipe.
  • You woke up to a temperature of 45 degrees 'in' your house because your furnace malfunctioned.
  • While you were sitting in front of your fireplace you could feel old-man winter's breath blowing in from under your front door.

Don't want to experience another January like that? Well, if you haven't already worked through your fall property maintenance tasks, here's a reminder of what you need to do before January arrives again:

The Yard

  • Lawn Care - rake up all the old leaves, reseed patchy areas, fertilize, plant bulbs for the spring,
  • Trees and Bushes - prune back for spring growth. Trim away any branches that touch the house or power lines.
  • Storage - clean and store all summer equipment such as lawn mowers, BBQs, lawn chairs, etc.
  • Hoses - drain and store.
  • Faucets - drain and shut off all faucets and irrigation systems. Place Styrofoam insulating cap over faucets as needed.
  • Security - trim back trees/bushes that have grown large enough to obscure exterior lighting.
  • Pots - empty soil from pots to prevent freezing and cracking.

The Exterior

  • Roof - check for loose and/or missing shingles, damaged metal flashing, or signs of worn shingles (accumulation of granules in gutters)
  • Gutters - clean out gutters, downspouts, and drains to prevent ice buildup.
  • Driveway - check for cracks, particularly over 1/8 inch wide. Clean out and re-fill. Reseal.
  • Siding - check the paint. Has it begun to blister or peel?
  • Doors and Windows - check weather stripping. Caulk where necessary. Replace broken windows. Repair and store screens.
  • Nests - check for bird, bee, and/or rodent presence, particularly in vents, gutters, or drains
  • Decks - make sure handrails are secure and anti-slip pads are installed on steps.

The Interior

  • Furnace - have a licensed heating professional check it out.
  • Ceiling Fans - change the rotation direction to create an upward draft.
  • Fireplace - is the chimney free of creosote? Does the damper work as designed? Check all stove pipes for leaks.
  • Warning Devices - make sure all smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are operational. Replace batteries.
  • Fire Extinguisher - install an A-B-C rated extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure it is charged and ready to use.
  • Humidifier - thoroughly clean it out to eliminate bacterial growth.
  • Clutter - dispose of any fire hazards such as piles of old newspapers.
  • Fire Escape Plan - what is the plan? Are windows accessible if needed as an exit? Are rope ladders present for 2nd and 3rd floors?
  • Insulation - if insulation was recently installed, make sure it is not covering vents in the eaves.
  • Hot Water Heater - flush in order to remove any sediments.

Be Equipped

  • Clothing - unpack, clean, and organize all your winter jackets, boots, hats, scarves, gloves, etc.
  • Snow Removal - is your snow blower operational? Do you have snow shovels, ice scrappers, and de-icing sprays?
  • Salt and Sand - make sure these items are ready to use.

Winter is on its way. Be prepared.

* The above discussion isn't exhaustive. It is presented just as a reminder. Be sure to consult with professionals when it comes to repairing and/or checking the operational viability of many of the items mentioned.