How To Prepare Your Property For Winter
I know, I know--it’s barely October, and here I am talking about winter. But real estate is a big investment, and it’s important to maintain it properly. The fact of the matter is that some projects, like interior painting, can be fun and optional; other projects may not be very fun, but they are critical, and they can become way more expensive or difficult to complete in rainy, damp, or even snowy weather.
The best way to stay on top of your pre-winter maintenance is first to know what actually needs to be done BEFORE the cold weather hits. Here are the most common, but important, tasks you’ll want to handle this fall, before Old Man Winter comes knocking.
SERVICE YOUR HEAT SOURCE
We all want to stay warm and cozy in our homes during the chilly winter days, but what if your heat source gives out in the middle of a storm? What if you wait until the last minute, and all of the HVAC pros are twice as expensive and booked out for weeks?
Before the cold days are upon us, I highly suggest you get your heat source cleaned, checked, and ready to bring the warmth. This goes for all types of systems. It doesn’t matter if you have a wood stove or a heat pump, or anything in between--for peace of mind and financial savings get it serviced before you have a problem.
CHECK THE SHEATHING & SIDING
If you go up into your attic or roof crawl space and look up, you will see wood. That is the underside of the sheathing, the boards to which your roofing material is attached. If that wood has discoloration of any kind, your roof needs to be looked at by a professional. If there are moisture spots, you may need to have the roof patched. If there is anything white or black, you’ll also need to contact a mold remediation company. The more comfortable you are with your attic space, the more keen your eye will be to any changes before they become big problems.
Just like roofing, your siding--the material that covers the outside walls of a building--is generally attached to wood sheaths. We have a lot of moisture in Washington State, so sooner or later some wood is bound to rot. Make sure any wood that is exposed to the elements is treated in some way. Some options for treatments are water-borne preservatives, oil-borne preservatives, and light organic solvent preservatives. Caulk gaps or cracks in composite or wood siding, and properly joint any metal or vinyl siding to stop moisture from seeping underneath. Any soft or rotting wood should be treated or replaced ASAP! This is not typically something that can be done in the wetter seasons, so tending to this task as early in the fall--or even in the summer--is very important for the maintenance of your real estate investment.
Other external wood material, such as decking, pergolas, or arbors, should also be inspected for rot or damage. Repair and properly seal these items now to avoid bigger, more expensive repairs next spring.
CLEAN GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
Whether or not you have trees on your property, you will still want to check your gutters every fall. Debris can get stuck in your gutters and cause water damage to the underlying material. While cleaning, also check for cracks, and look at the bottom of the downspouts for any pooling water that does not quickly and easily drain away from the building; you may need to place splash blocks or diverters in problem areas. If you attend to your gutter system once a year, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that it is ready to do its job in the rainy season.
WINTERIZE WATER SOURCES
Damage caused by broken plumbing is often avoidable. Properly caring for water pipes varies a great deal, but here in the beautiful PNW pipe insulation is usually the best way to go. Securly cover your exterior faucets with a plastic or styrofoam faucet cover to keep your pipes from freezing or bursting. Insulating interior piping, like in the garage, is also a good idea. Oh, and don’t forget that irrigation system! Be sure to drain it properly at the end of the watering season to head off leaks in the yard when the ground freezes.