Getting your rental ready for the fall-winter
We all enjoy the fall season, the cool weather, wearing light sweaters, and drinking pumpkin spice lattes. Many of us see it as a time to relax at home, but in order to enjoy our stay at home we need to remember the cold-hard fact: fall is a runway for winter. With that in mind, we need to remember to prep our houses.
Getting your house ready for the colder months does not have to be a chore, though - Sprucing up your yard and tinkering with your toolbox might be the perfect way to enjoy cooler temperatures and a drop in humidity.
Here are some tips for battening down the hatches, and giving your rental a fresh face for fall:
Clean Your Gutters:
Autumn leaves are beautiful; however, when they clog up your gutters, they are anything but charming. Maintaining clean, well-flowing gutters can prevent overflowing water from causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to siding, landscaping, and even to the foundation of your house. A clogged gutter can also create ice dams that push water up under your shingles and into your home.
Starting at the downspout, using a ladder and small scoop, remove the gunk. Throw the debris into a bucket or onto a tarp for easy cleanup. Flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose. Though they can be more expensive than the gutters themselves ($6-$8/running foot), adding gutter guards could save you cleanup when freezing temperatures make outdoor projects unbearable.
Here are some tips from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA):
Weather-Proof Doors and Windows:
A draft-free home will not only help keep the sniffles away, it will save you money, and one of the best ways to do this is making sure you maintain your weather-stripping. Felt strips, metal-back strips, self-stick foam, and plastic channels are all useful DIY tools to help you insulate leaky windows and doors. When it comes to buttoning up your home, caulking is also your friend. Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows and doors, then use caulking to fill in the holes.
Check Your Roof:
You might want to contract this one out to a licensed inspector. If you are comfortable with heights, now is the time to make sure the roof is in good shape. Replace buckling, curling, or cracked shingles. Check the flashing around pipes, chimneys, and other penetrations to make sure you do not have any leaks or gaps. Look for excessive shingle granules in your gutters - if your gutters are disintegrating, they are losing valuable weight and insulation - this could mean it is time to replace your roofing.
Check the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested regularly. As you are protecting the house from the elements why not also make sure it is protected from forces within? It is essential that you make sure the detectors are operational and have fresh batteries.
Walk the walkways (and driveways):
Damaged walkways, drives, and steps are a hazard year-round, but their dangers are compounded when the weather turns icy. Fixing problems in the fall is also critical to preventing little problems from becoming expensive headaches. Look for cracks more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections, and loose railings on steps. Check for disintegration of asphalt or washed-out materials on loose-fill paths. Most small jobs are well within the ability of a DIY project, but save major repairs for experienced hands.
Before the freezing weather hits, take steps to ensure that outside faucets and in-ground irrigation systems do not freeze and burst. Close any shut-off valves serving outside faucets and open the outside faucet to drain the line (there may be a small cap on the faucet you can loosen to facilitate this draining). If you do not have shut-off valves and your faucets are not "freeze-proof " types, you may benefit from Styrofoam faucet covers which are sold at home centers. To freeze-proof an in-ground irrigation system, follow the manufacturer's procedure for draining.