Is your New England home or investment property ready for winter? A winter home maintenance checklist can help keep your tenants comfortable and prevent costly repairs. Now that temperatures are falling, you’ll want to read the following tips.
1. Finish Fall Cleanup
Now is the time to cross off any remaining tasks on your fall cleanup list. Finish pruning, raking, and disposing of leaves and dead branches. You’ll want to do this before snow covers those piles of plant debris and freezes solid.
2. Check Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Cold New England winters mean closed windows, a running furnace, and an oven baking all those holiday cookies. To protect the health and safety of your tenants, install or inspect smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries and make sure the alarms are working properly. If you haven’t installed them, you can buy smoke alarms and UL-listed carbon monoxide detectors at home improvement stores.
While at it, ensure all fire extinguishers are in working order. Your tenants should be able to easily access extinguishers near stoves, fireplaces, or other fire-susceptible areas.
3. Seal Windows and Other Leakage Points
From windows and doors to outlets and light switches, air leakage points can cause heat loss in a home. Check for air leaks or drafts around windows and doors. Replace cracked or worn caulking or weatherstripping. Gaps around electrical outlets and switches can be sealed with caulk and aerosol foam.
4. Prepare Exterior Pipes
Frozen pipes will burst and cause flooding — a costly but preventable headache. Pipes in unheated areas, such as the garage or basement, should be insulated. Drain your outdoor sprinkler system, disconnect garden hoses and close and cover all outdoor faucets.
5. Schedule Electrical and Heating System Tune-Ups
Before the winter chill sets in, electrical and heating system tune-ups are critical items on your winter home maintenance checklist. A licensed electrician can check and repair issues with power flow, sparking, and worn or damaged wires.
A reputable HVAC technician can inspect your heating system, replace filters and make any needed tune-ups. For example, you should have a gas heating system cleaned every three years, and a boiler system cleaned every year.
6. Flush and Insulate Hot Water Tank
Sediment builds up over time in a hot water tank. Flushing the tank should be a regular part of winter preparation. After flushing, you can keep the water heater warm by placing an insulated blanket around it. This step can help lower your energy bills during the cold weather.
7. Inspect Roof and Gutters
A damaged roof can cause serious problems during the winter months. Melting snow can leak into walls and cause structural damage to the building. A professional roofing contractor can inspect your roof and repair damaged shingles or other issues. You should also ensure gutters are cleaned to allow drainage and protect the roof from damage.
The general contracting professionals at RH Blanchard can help you complete your winter home maintenance checklist. Get in touch today for a free quote.