Seasons are changing fast, and it can be the busiest time of year for Fall preventative maintenance. In the Northeast, weather during the Fall months can be unpredictable, to say the least. Now is the time to identify those small issues before they become a big problem as Winter approaches. Check out our list below for the most common Fall preventative maintenance projects to address.
Outdoor Fall Maintenance Tips for Rental Properties
- Tree Limbs and Basic Landscaping: Changing weather, storms, snow, and ice can weigh down branches that pose a hazard to your home or outbuildings. If you have multiple large trees, consider having a professional evaluate the trees for rot or potential problems and remove any damaged or diseased branches. In addition to trees, take time to trim bushes back and remove any leaf build-up from exterior drains.
- Examine and Clear Out Your Gutters: Fall is the time when leaves and debris can collect quickly in gutters. Take time to clean these out each Fall and examine their condition. If any cracks or leaks are discovered, now is the time to get those addressed before cold weather sets in.
- Check Out the Roof: Clearing your roof is just as important as cleaning your gutters. Leaves and branches can hide missing shingles or damage, which could result in leaks. Inspect your roof for any potential issues and make repairs as needed, before they become a significant and far more costly problem.
- Inspect Windows and Doors: Winter air coming through cracks in windows or doorways is a considerable detriment to HVAC efficiency. Therefore, inspect for any damaged caulking or weatherstripping. Sealing up windows or doors adds to efficiency but also helps prevent leaks.
How to Prepare Major Systems as Fall Approaches
- Prevent Freezing: Winterizing your outdoor systems is essential to preventing those dreaded and costly frozen pipes. Therefore, drain all exterior pipes, hose bibs, and close off valves for the season.
- Inspect the Chimney and Fireplace: Now is the time to inspect the property’s chimney, fireplace, flues, and vents. These should be cleaned annually by a chimney sweep who can also alert you to any potential hazards or concerns.
- Service the Furnace or HVAC System: Fall is an excellent time for an annual furnace check-up for your rental property. Ensure the tenant has changed the filter if the home is occupied or take care of this yourself if it is vacant. Consider investing in a service contract with a local HVAC contractor which may be great way to ensure your system is operating at peak performance.
Routine Fall HVAC Maintenance
- Check the Thermostat: Adjust the system from cooling to heat and test by setting the temperature a few degrees higher than the room. If the heat does not come on within a few minutes, check the connections. If all connections are secure, turn it off and contact a professional for further diagnosis.
- Replace or Clean the Filter: Change filters with the seasons or every few months. Keeping the filter clean plays a significant role in the health and efficiency of the system.
- Protect the AC Condenser (Unless your HVAC has a heat pump): To protect from debris or damage, cover the AC condenser fan with a board or even a large plastic or metal lid. Do not, however, use anything that covers the entire unit, such as a tarp.
- Clean the Heat Exchange: A professional HVAC tech will clear off or vacuum the heat exchanger. Complete this at least once annually while the unit is down.
- Service the Blower Motor: Turn off power to the unit and clean the caps to the bearings. Consult the unit’s manual to see what type of lubrication is needed or to be safe, consult a professional.
- Test the Igniter: Modern HVAC systems have an electronic igniter; if this isn’t working correctly, call a professional.
Interior Preventative Maintenance Measures for the Fall Season
- Check Your Detectors: Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be lifesaving, and landlords are required to have them in their rental properties. As tenants switch over to running heat, testing these detectors to ensure proper working order is essential. Also, make sure the home has a fully charged fire extinguisher.
- Inspect Locks: Door and window locks are a necessary safety device in any home. Fall offers the perfect time to inspect them for any wear and tear to replace or repair as needed. No one wants a stuck lock call on a cold Winter night; a quick spray of WD-40 can keep locks from freezing up.
- Close Up Drafts: Simple fixes like spray foam to fill in cracks or even extra insulation in the attic can provide extra efficiency for your home. Inspect areas around doorways, in the basement, and the attic for opportunity areas to seal out the elements.
Miscellaneous Fall Tasks for Landlords
After you have taken care of the interior and exterior essential maintenance, there still could be a few things on the to-do list. While these things are suggestions, they are certainly worth taking the time to do. Continue reading our final Fall tips for your rental property below.
- Block Out Pests: As the temperatures drop, rodents, raccoons, and squirrels look to lovely cozy homes as shelter from the cold. So, to keep your rental pest free, carefully cover any possible entry points.
- Snow Removal: Especially in multi-unit properties, snow removal is essential during the winter months. However, you do not want to be scrambling to find someone while the snow is already coming down. Instead, research and secure these contracts in the Fall so you will be ready.
- Read Your Insurance Policy: Unpredictable weather can lead to many potential dangers for a rental property such as damage and power outages. Fall is a great time to review your policy, make sure it is up to date, and familiarize yourself with your coverage limits. Hopefully, you will not need it, but its peace of mind to know just in case.
Fall preventative maintenance is essential for every home or rental property. That said, use this as an opportunity to do a thorough check of the entire property following the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Now that you have an idea of some key points to look for reach out to some licensed professionals who can ready your home for the changing seasons. Are you looking for rental property management services in Cumberland County? Bay Property Management Group Cumberland County can assist will all of your maintenance and rental property needs year-round!