When you have a property emergency in the dead of winter or at the height of a blizzard, getting help is often a major fail. Although you cannot completely eliminate property emergencies and disasters, Saber says there are some things you can do ahead of time (meaning autumn, before the temperatures plunge) to avoid trouble when it’s most inconvenient.
First and foremost, Saber advises to get your plumber and your HVAC team into your property now, before the temperatures drop and these teams start to get super busy. Let them do their thing: checking thermostats, inspecting air ducts, pinpointing where you may need to replace or refill fluids, and more.
The old standby: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is never more true than when you need to winterize your property. Get it done now – don’t put it off!
In addition, be sure to check off all the urgent to-do’s on Saber’s property-owners checklist:
Stock up on salt. The time to buy salt is now, not the night before the storm (there may be no inventory then). While you’re shopping, buy a few extra backup shovels, as they can break when you need them most.
Check your water heater for leaks. A little precaution now will save you a winter full of headaches later. Let a professional ignite it, clean the pipes, bleed the system, and recommend what needs to be replaced. When a system is actively running for days and weeks, things eventually break down. It won’t be as bad if you detect it now.
Clean and clear your furnace. Costly malfunctions can include smoke, gas leaks, fires, or simple breakdowns that will become an emergency on possibly the coldest day of the year.
The time for roof repair is before the first winter storm. Check for wear and especially leaks. Roof adhesive doesn’t apply or hold well in cold weather. And the first major snowstorm will prevent any necessary repairs.
Is your basement flood-proof and leak-proof? When snow melts, you know where the water goes. Make sure your basement is sealed tight.
Set time aside for some serious sealing of your windows. This means both sides – inside and out. If one or the other is not properly sealed, you may have a leakage or draft problem. Look for gaps. The caulking will dry better in fall temps than winter temps.
Check your doors for warps. If warped, it’s best to replace the door, and the earlier the better, before the cold weather sets in. Also, replace the weather stripping to prevent drafts under the doorway.
Check your plumbing and sewer lines. Saber’s plumber uses a camera that explores the lines for any clogs. If the plumber needs to snake it, then better sooner than later. It’s an expense, but it will save you a whole lot of money down the line.
Call your exterminator. When the temps go down, furry creatures look for a warm place to call home. Don’t let it be yours.
Be sure your fireplace is clean and clear and ready for the first frost. Before using it for the first time, make sure it’s cleared for proper ventilation, to prevent smoke and fire damage.
Check the gutters. A deep freeze will worsen any leaks or cracks. Water leakage could cause damage to your exterior and interior walls, as well as to sidewalks and basements. Icy accumulation can cause accidents (and lawsuits).
Clean your grill. Rodents can smell your summer cooking, long after the season is over. Sweep up and hose down the area inside, around and below the grill, to eliminate any extra food droppings or grease.
Pack up your outdoor furniture, or store it inside if possible. Rodents tend to make winter homes in patio furniture.
Is the property vacant? If so, be sure to drain all the pipes of water, and to shut off the main water supply, to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Insurance companies often deny claims because of burst pipes (check your insurance agreement), citing landlord negligence or the property not insurable while vacant.
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