It’s hard to believe, but we’re getting to the time of year where we need to think about preparing our homes for the winter season! Below are tips and guidance on how to best prepare for winter and how you can set your home up for success as the weather changes…
First things first: there are several methods for managing maintenance for your home.
Throughout my 32+ years as a real estate agent, I’ve also owned several properties. I’ve learned a lot, and that includes the fact that sometimes life doesn’t allow us to be the DIYers that we’d like to be. I’ve spent decades maintaining homes, which not only benefits the residents of those homes, but also helps to retain the home’s value longer term. My approach to maintenance plans and general upkeep may vary from property to property, but there are three methods I’ve found particularly effective:
- Do-it-yourself (DIY) approach – if you have the time and know-how, I’m a big supporter of sweat equity!
- One-and-done, as-needed service approach – as maintenance needs arise, you call on the experts to come for service.
- Annual or seasonal service contracts – many people may think of this type of arrangement being used primarily for commercial properties, but many homeowners opt to engage a trusted home maintenance partner to care for all their needs on an annual or seasonal basis.
If you are looking for a trustworthy and skilled maintenance partner for your home, reach out to me! I have vetted an enormous number of local handymen and service companies. I’m happy to share my personal experiences and referrals with you!
Alternatively, if you opt for the DIY route this fall and winter…some things to consider:
Check Your Heating and Air Conditioning Systems
Did you know that most heating and air systems typically last 12 to 15 years? A lot of a system’s life depends on how well it is maintained and prepared for changes in seasons. Before winter arrives, experts recommend that you take the time to change your filters and consider having an HVAC specialist inspect your systems to flag any current or prospective issues. Many HVAC companies actually offer annual maintenance backs that could prove very beneficial and cost-effective in the long run.
Clean Your Gutters
Once the leaves are off the trees, it is time to clean the gutters. If a gutter is not cleaned it can back up and overflow, which can lead to water running down the home. Water running in this way can speed up the deterioration of the exterior of the home, as well as the foundation. If water has the opportunity to seep into the foundation and basement of your home, this can lead to a multitude of issues. The same is true if water settles under concrete porches and walks.
Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Because winter is the time of year when furnaces are running and fireplaces are in use, it is also the time when most house fires occur. Since houses are also more likely to be closed up tightly against the season, carbon monoxide is a bigger hazard. Checking all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working and have quality batteries is critical. If your home does not have carbon monoxide detectors, now is the time to get some and ensure they are working properly.
Prevent Critters from Moving In
As it gets chillier, the attic becomes an ideal winter home for squirrels and birds. These animals – and others – can cause a lot of damage to your home and also pose potential health problems. To prepare your home against them, make sure your trees are trimmed away from the house and that gable vents are intact. It is also a good idea to tack a screen up behind your gable vent for increased protection. We also recommend walking around the exterior of your home to check that there are no holes that birds can get into and begin nesting.
Prepare for Snow Removal
Before you need it, take the time to get your snowblower out of storage and test that it is running properly. The last thing you want is to learn your snowblower needs fixing while a blizzard is coming down! If the snowblower is not running properly, take it to a shop with a team of experts who can diagnosis the issues and fix effectively. Additionally, check that you have other snow removal essentials – such as salt and shovels – ready to go. Being prepared in advance will only offer you more peace of mind when the inevitable time comes to get all the snow out of the way.