As the summer heat finally begins to subside, we have to think about preparing our homes for the coming Fall and Winter. I have written a seasonal guide of home maintenance suggestions. There is a button below to download the guide. Below, I have summarized the Fall and Winter preparation task you should think about now.
Why does this matter to you? The number one reason homes do not sell for their list price is what we agents euphemistically call “deferred maintenance.” Who wants to caulk the tub on Saturday morning? Not me. That’s deferred maintenance. It all adds up, and can lead to larger issues, but certainly can effect the sales price of your home by 10% or more.
Here are Fall and Winter home maintenance suggestions to help you protect the long term value of your home.
Fall ushers in another busy season of home maintenance as you prepare your home for the winter weather ahead.
- Have Heater Serviced
To ensure safety and efficiency, it’s a good idea to have your heating system serviced and inspected before you run it for the first time.
- Shut Down A/C for the Winter
If you have central air conditioning, you can have it serviced at the same time as your furnace. If you have a portable or window unit, ensure it’s properly sealed or remove it and store it for the winter.
- Inspect Chimney
Fire safety experts recommend that you have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned periodically. Complete this task before you start using your fireplace or furnace.
- Seal Windows and Doors
Check windows and doors for drafts and caulk or add weatherstripping where necessary.
- Check Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you checked your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the spring, they are due for another inspection. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so it’s time to replace them again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
- Plant Fall Flowers, Grass and Shrubs
Fall is a great time to plant perennials, trees, shrubs, cool-season vegetables and bulbs that will bloom in the spring. It’s also a good time to reseed or sod your lawn.
- Rake or Mow Leaves
Once the leaves start falling, it’s time to pull out your rake. A thick layer of leaves left on your grass can lead to an unhealthy lawn. Or, rather than raking, use a mulching mower to create a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
- Inspect Gutters and Roof
Inspect your gutters and downspouts and make needed repairs. Check the roof for any broken or loose tiles. Remove fallen leaves and debris.
- Shut Down Sprinkler System
If you have a sprinkler system, drain any remaining water and shut it down to prevent damage from freezing temperatures over the winter.
- Close Pool If you have a pool, it’s time to clean and close it up before the winter.
While it can be tempting to ignore home maintenance issues in the winter, snow and freezing temperatures can do major damage if left untreated. Follow these steps to ensure your house survives the winter months.
- Maintain Heating System
Check and change filters on your heating system, per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have a boiler, monitor the water level.
- Tune Up Generator
If you own a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. Make sure it’s working before you need it, and stock up on supplies like fuel, oil and filters.
- Prevent Frozen Pipes
Make sure pipes are well insulated, and keep your heat set to a minimum of 55 degrees when you’re away. If pipes are prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly overnight or when away from home. You may also want to open cabinet doors beneath sinks to let in heat.
- Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Faucets Before the first freeze, drain and shut off outdoor faucets. Place an insulated cover over exposed faucets, and store hoses for the winter.
- Remove Window Screens
Removing screens from your windows allows more light in to brighten and warm your home during the dark, cold winter months. Snow can also get trapped between screens and windows, causing damage to window frames and sills.
- Stock Up on Ice Melt
Keep plenty of ice melt, or rock salt, on hand in preparation for winter weather. Look for brands that will keep kids and pets safe without doing damage to your walkway or yard.
While these suggestions should not be considered a complete list of your home’s maintenance needs, it can serve as a general seasonal guide. Systems, structures and fixtures will need to be repaired and replaced from time-to-time, as well. The good news is, the investment you make in maintaining your home now will pay off dividends over time.
Keep a record of all your maintenance, repairs and upgrades for future reference, along with receipts. Not only will it help jog your memory, it can make a big impact on buyers when it comes time to sell your home … and potentially result in a higher selling price.