Fall Maintenance Checklist

Managing the care and upkeep of a property is no easy task. Homes have many moving parts which require ongoing supervision and maintenance to ensure that everything is working properly. When it comes to homeownership and property management, we believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To prevent costly winter repairs, we recommend the following fall maintenance checklist to ensure that your home runs smoothly during the coldest months of the year.

 

Furnace or Boiler Maintenance

Home heating systems involve many complex components. Just like you would change the oil or air filters in a car before a long trip across the country, homeowners should start the winter with a serviced heating system. We recommend contacting a certified heating contractor. An annual service visit usually runs around $100 in the Philadelphia area, while the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a trained professional has given one of your most expensive home mechanical systems a passing grade is priceless. However, for the intrepid DIY-er, we recommend at minimum, changing the filters for a forced air heating system, bleeding the radiators for a boiler system, and checking the batteries on your digital thermostat.

 

Preventing Drafts

Keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside by checking to ensure that the weatherstripping around your doors is in good shape. Repair or replace aging or damaged weatherstripping. Even small gaps can bring in a good amount of cold air. Installing door sweeps can also prevent chills from entering the home through the slim space beneath the door. If you have older windows in your home, you may want to consider covering them with plastic insulation. The process takes about ten minutes, a pair of scissors and a hair dryer and can keep you feeling cozy all winter long.

 

Drain the Hose and Shut off the Water Line

For homeowners with gardens, it’s important to prevent freezing your pipes which supply the hose line. Shut off the access to the hose (in Philadelphia, most water lines are accessed in the basement). Then drain the remaining water and disconnect the hose and bring it inside for the winter.

 

Empty Flower Pots

While you’re outside, take some time to empty the soil from your ceramic pots. Rapidly cooling and rising temperatures, which are now common during Philadelphia winters, can cause cracking in all sorts of things (roads especially). Protect your pots for spring flowers by clearing out the soil.

 

Clearing the Gutters and Drains

For homeowners living in neighborhoods with even a moderate amount of tree cover, it’s important to make sure that gutters are cleared of leaves and debris. Buildup in gutters can cause issues with the roof (flat roofs in particular) or cause water to spill over the gutter and freeze on the sidewalk, creating a tripping hazard. Also, for homeowners with drains in their front or back yard, it’s important to take a peek and make sure they’re clear. A blocked yard drain can turn your backyard into a skating rink and contribute to clogs in the drain line.