Fall is upon us, and homeowners need to prepare their homes for the dropping temperatures and changing leaves. By weatherproofing and performing preventative home maintenance, homeowners can protect their property from any unwelcome surprises and make their autumn more pleasant. Knowing what needs to be done, however, is not always easy. Share this checklist with your insureds to keep fall property management simple.
Your Fall Home Maintenance To-Dos
- Drain and Disconnect Outdoor Faucets: Sprinklers, hoses, swimming pools, any outdoor pipe should be completely drained and shut off before the cold weather hits. Frozen pipes are costly and stressful, so do what you can to prevent them from freezing in the first place.
- Service Your Furnace/HVAC System: Make sure your furnace and ductwork are cleaned and in working order by having a professional service them. Change air filters as needed and check that your thermostat is working properly.
- Test Your Snow Blower: Don’t wait until a snowstorm to take out your winter equipment. Make sure your snow blower is in working order in the late fall and have it serviced and repaired if needed.
- Bleed Radiators and Check Boiler: Is your home heated with steam heat? Have a plumber come out to service the boiler before it gets to work again this year. Bleed radiators and ensure the valves are working properly too.
- Clean Up Trees and Shrubs: The fall is the best time to prune plants and trees as growing slows. Make sure your plants are healthy and at least 3 feet from your home, so as not to cause damage during high winds and extreme precipitation.
- Inspect for Drafts: Notice cool air coming from windows or doors? Insulate them to cut save money on energy and heat as temperatures drop. Autumn is a good time to fit in last minute repairs as the days of stifling heat are gone and frigid air is not yet here.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, replacing batteries as needed. The cold weather months are the peak time for carbon monoxide incidents due to the increased use of heating devices.
- Stock Up on Firewood: If you plan to use it, the fall is the perfect time to make your winter firewood stockpile. Remember not to store wood indoors or too tightly together to prevent insects of funguses from wreaking havoc.
- Bring in Outdoor Furniture: With warm, long summer days behind you, it is time to store your outdoor furniture in a garage or shed, or cover it with some kind of weatherproof furniture cover. If you live in an area prone to strong winds, make sure the furniture is secure and will not blow away or damage a nearby structure.
- Clean and Repair Gutters: Ensure that all gutters work properly and divert water away from your home’s foundation. Inspect gutters and downspouts for any damage, debris, or clogs. If you can’t get to this before the start of Fall, it is imperative that you do so before winter hits and snow and ice return.
- Remove Window A/C Units: Before the weather turns cold, be sure to take your window air conditioning units out. If that is not an option, wrap the exterior of the unit with something insulting to keep cold air from drafting into your home.
Once fall property preparations are complete, homeowners can bask in the autumnal beauty with the peace of mind of knowing their property is cold-weather-ready. Bring on the apple cider and jack-o-lanterns!