It’s hard to think of winter maintenance here in southern Oregon with the 80 degree weather we’ve been having but alas, it is October and winter weather is sure to come sneaking it’s way back in. As the temperatures plummet and the skies begin to drop moisture it’s important to ensure that our investments are well protected for whatever winter might bring. Depending upon the lease agreement your tenants may be responsible for some of the simpler maintenance themselves but a reminder and confirmation of completion is always a good idea. I’ve listed the items that I check every winter but different climates have some different requirements. While performing maintenance always look for other maintenance, issues that may need repaired, or potential hazards.
Gutters – Once the leaves have fallen give the gutters a good cleaning to ensure they function properly throughout the winter months.
Roof – While you’re on the ladder cleaning the gutters give the roof a visual inspection. Ensure that roofing material is laying flat and properly sealed.
Landscaping – Trim trees and shrubs for aesthetic purposes as well as to keep them from damaging siding or structures by rubbing or falling.
Weather Proofing – Seal windows and doors to insulate against winter weather, keeping the heating costs down and keeping moisture out.
Freezing Pipes – Water spigots that are outside should be insulated or turned off completely. Disconnect all hoses and store for the winter. Even if you leave on vacation or if a rental is vacant thermostats should be set no lower than 50 degrees and in the event of really low temps leaving a couple faucets on to allow a slow drip can prevent pipes from freezing and cracking and causing a terrible and expensive mess.
Heating System – Inspect the heating system visually, hire a professional to service the heating system occasionally, and provide tenants with air filters to prevent extra wear and tear.
Hot Water Heaters – Visually inspect the hot water heater for leaks or damage.
Fireplaces – If a fireplace is used regularly during the cool months chimneys should be cleaned every year and at least inspected annually.
Sump Pump – Last but not least inspect and test sump pumps annually to ensure they are working properly. The last thing you want is to find out that the pump has malfunctioned via a flooded house.
I hope that my list served as a good reminder on some upcoming maintenance. It’s always nice to deal with maintenance while the weather is still pleasant rather then dealing with busted frozen pipes or overflowing gutters in the middle of winter. Get your maintenance done now and cozy up next to the fireplace with a good book knowing that you’ve done what’s needed to keep your properties maintained and ready for the cold months ahead.