Eight Nights of Home Protection to Keep out the Cold

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Eight Nights of Home Protection to Keep out the Cold

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With the temperature dropping, most people want to stay on their couch with a cozy blanket and some good TV. The holidays offer many things: family, holiday classics, and a reprieve from usual stressors with more days off from work. Even with so many people planning their upcoming vacations from their everyday jobs, winter doesn’t quite translate that way into the world of property management. Check out these tasks you should be putting on your schedule. With the Festival of Lights coming our way, prioritize these eight nights of winter house maintenance, no matter where you live.

1. Clean the Dryer Vents

Hopefully, everyone knows about the lint tray in the dryer. They should, right? What everyone may not recall is the dryer vent on the back. This long tube goes from the dryer, through walls and crawl spaces, right out to the outside world, and many people find it easily forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind, out of the frying pan and straight into the fire. Dryers are a leading cause of house fires. In fact, over a third of all clothes dryer fires are caused by people not having their vents cleaned. U.S. Fire Administration recommends having dryer vents cleaned once a year, and those with larger families should consider doing this task more often. Dryer’s do much more work during the winter with cooler temperatures making it harder to dry clothes, so winter is a prime time to recommend your tenants do this.

2. Check Roof

Having a roof over your head causes your tenants to feel safe and taken care of, but sometimes you need to take care of the roof in return. Once you have the right kind of ladder and are confident in how to use it, take the time to examine the roof and area around it. Inspect nearby trees to see if they are too close or capable of causing damage. Clear off debris inspect vents and seals. If you’re in a colder climate, where icy winter storms prevent you from examining the roof, make a note to do this once it starts to warm up in Spring.

Warmer Areas

If you live in a warmer part of the world, check for water proofing elements, rubber seals, and so on. Summer heat can cause these to melt or wear out before their time. Before winter rain comes in, check that these seals are up to the task.

Legally speaking, ghosts exist. You should always consult a lawyer for such advice, but legally speaking, they do. The law doesn’t state if ghosts literally exist, but according to the New York Supreme Court, people have the right to know you’ve had some spooks and scares. Often referred to as the Ghostbusters Ruling, Stambovsky v. Ackley debated a haunted house that Helen Ackley had sold to Jeffrey Stambovsky. Ackley had told newspapers and even Reader’s Digest about her poltergeist ridden abode. When out of towner Stambovsky saw the house, no one saw fit to let him know. Needless to say, he was not happy. Neither was the court and because she told national and local publications, the majority of justices said: “as a matter of law, the house is haunted.” 

When dealing with your stigmatized property, ask a local lawyer what the laws are in your area, and double-check your local laws on how much you are required to disclose. It may be that ghosts aren’t a big deal, and you don’t have a disclosure law. Otherwise, it’s good practice to be honest when asked. 

3. Clear Gutters

Gutters are a prime place to prevent flooding in your home as it can cause it if it doesn’t get the proper attention it deserves. Now that fall is over, inspect your gutters and down spouts. Too many leaves and trash can clog the areas. With winter rain, the gutters can overflow.

Colder Areas

If you live in a warmer part of the world, check for water proofing elements, rubber seals, and so on. Summer heat can cause these to melt or wear out before their time. Before winter rain comes in, check that these seals are up to the task.

4. Clean Window Tracks

It’s always a good idea to keep the window tracks cleared out. While newer windows tend to work a bit better at insulating and preventing drafts, debris within window tracks can hold in moisture. That means it can attract bugs, build mold, or cause other kinds of water damage. Soon enough windows won’t be able to close the way they were designed, and more moisture will build.

5. Inspect Nearby Trees

Be it snow or rain, trees can be weighed down as weather turns colder. Or at the very least, cooler than it had been before. During storms, branches can fall and damage homes or wiring, so make sure all nearby trees and their branches are at least three to six feet away from the roof. Not only can this prevent structural damage, this distance prevents rodents and bugs from coming into your property.

6. Winter Storms

Speaking of, you need to prepare for winter storms. For those in warmer climates, this can mean just your regular ole thunderstorms. Freezing rain can be a danger, especially when temperatures at night can be much colder than during the day, even in the south. Check outdoor hoses to make sure they are disconnected, as well as any water pipes than run through areas of the house that are colder than others (such as garages, basements, or attics). Check that your fire extinguisher is charged. Keep an eye on the forecast for overnight freezes and have something on hand to provide traction just in case.

7. Check all Detector Batteries

Smoke detectors, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors – these are all battery-based items which means they can, at the worst moment, fail. On this, the seventh night, take a moment and a ladder to examine your life saving detectors and see how the batteries are holding up. Then you can make a list and check it twice to add some back up batteries to your holiday shopping list.

8. Check the AC

Yes, the air conditioner was designed to be outside but it can still be hurt by the whole ‘outside’ thing. Falling icicles, an overenthusiastic squirrel, rain falling to the wrong place, all these things can damage the unit. If you have an in-window machine, pull it back inside to let it nap until spring anyway. Larger machines can be protected from weather-based nuisances with a weighed down piece of wood put on top of it. Don’t blanket it, as that gives many pests an idea for nesting there or it can trap moisture and debris within the machine. Simply cover the top of it, and you’re ready.

Now that your eight nights of winter home care are up, you can take some time for yourself. Happy holidays, and enjoy the winter weather.

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ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.