Fall Home Maintenance Tips
Winter in Colorado can be the most damaging time of year for your property. Low temperatures, Snow, Sleet, constant freezing and thawing are a recipe for disaster. Get ready for the harsh conditions of winter now to avoid bigger problems and expenses later!
1. Disconnect all Garden Hoses
Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. When freezing temps hit, that water can freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. This damage can cause small drips or flooded basements. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage. Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.
2. Sprinkler Winterization
Time to drain your sprinkler system – Hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $50-100 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to reduce the likelihood you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.
3. Seal it up
Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy. Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.
4. Gutter Cleanout
Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs to your roof, soffits and facia and even can find its way to the interior of the home. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts. Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.
5. Trim your Trees
Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds. Also remember to do a final cleanup of fall leaves in your lawn to avoid damage as they decompose over the winter.
6. Check Your Furnace
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup – take advantage of early bird specials in September and Early October. We’re seeing more and more Owners take advantage of annual maintenance contracts to ensure they are at the top of the list for checks and can shave 20% off the cost of a single visit.
Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.
7. Fireplace Maintenance
To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney. If you have any doubts, order a professional chimney sweep to inspect and clean your flue to avoid further damage or risk of house fire.
As a Landlord, do not assume these items will be taken care of by your tenants. Some tasks may be a requirement of the lease… others may not, but proactive maintenance management is the best policy in protecting your Investment.