Now that the fall season has arrived in the Cape Fear region, it is a good time to consider what maintenance projects may need attention around your home. Fall is a great time to evaluate the condition of several systems in and around your house, take care of some lawn care you may have been putting off and give everything a good once-over before the winter settles in. We at Sweyer Property Management have a few reminders to extend this time of year so that your home will be in its best shape possible as the mercury drops.
Winterizing Irrigation Systems
Before we reach the possibility of below-freezing temperatures, sprinklers, spigots and irrigation systems should be winterized or otherwise protected from such temperatures. If left exposed, these systems can potentially be irreparably damaged by freezing water. Though our area doesn’t see the extreme temperatures that some regions do, we still typically have some days or even weeks where it is at or below freezing — long enough to do damage to outside plumbing. A licensed plumber or well-qualified handyman can easily take care of winterization work for you.
Even if you don’t have sprinklers or an irrigation system, it is still a good idea to cover any outside water spigots to prevent freezing. They make insulation covers for these and they can be purchased at most larger hardware stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. You may also want to consider insulating your water heater if it is located in an outdoor area like a garage — if it is insulated, it will not have to work as hard to keep up with the falling temperatures. Insulation covers and blankets for these are also usually available at the above-mentioned stores.
Does your home have a wood-burning fireplace? Professionals recommend having your chimney cleaned and inspected annually and fall is a great time to have this done prior to the fireplace being used regularly during the winter months. If a chimney is left dirty and uninspected, there can potentially be creosote buildup — which is one of the leading causes of house fires — as well as carbon monoxide buildup.
Having Your HVAC Serviced
Another thing you may want to address as cooler temperatures approach is your HVAC system. Heating and air companies recommend that you schedule preventative maintenance visits twice per year and spring and fall are typically the best times to have those done. Consider having an HVAC professional visit your property so that they may ensure your system is running properly and efficiently and catch any potential problems before they turn into emergencies. With the extra work these systems do during extreme temperatures, the peace of mind of knowing they’ve been inspected and are operating at their best is invaluable.
Gutters & Lawncare
As leaves begin to fall, the autumn season is also a great time to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned. As the season progresses, gutters will become filled with fallen leaves and pine straw and potentially become clogged. This buildup can prevent water from draining properly which can, in turn, lead to a host of other issues.
Fall is also an excellent time to do a thorough yard cleanup. Periods of decreasing temperatures are the optimal time to trim back shrubs and limbs that are close to your house, remove dead limbs and freshen mulch. Taking care of this during cooler temperatures makes it easier for trees and bushes to produce new growth in the spring. Also, it is much simpler to trim these items back once they are relatively free of leaves. A licensed landscaper or lawncare company can take care of this for you if you are not able to do it yourself.
Taking steps to prepare your property for colder temperatures will help ensure it is ready for spring’s arrival. If your home is an investment property, taking preventative action can also lessen the amount of maintenance calls you receive from tenants throughout the winter for things like nonfunctioning HVAC systems, fallen limbs or broken water heaters. If you are working with a professional property management company, they will be able to coordinate and schedule these maintenance visits on your behalf — and in some cases secure you preferred pricing — saving you time, money and undue stress.