Military families are a diverse population who have lived all over the country (and the world) but that doesn’t guarantee that they understand the winter maintenance needs in your region! Taking a little time now to educate them about how to best prepare for the cold weather will save headaches (and money) all around.
Windows and Doors
- Check all the weatherstripping around windows and door frames for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace weatherstripping, if necessary.
- Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk any spots needed, both inside and out, to keep heat from escaping.
Lawn, Garden, and Deck
- Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
- Aerate the lawn, reseed, and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
- Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
- Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
- Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
- Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
- Inspect outdoor lighting and replace light bulbs where needed
Tools and Machinery
- Prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug if your area receives heavy snowfall.
- Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway.
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
- Check fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted.
- Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
- Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
- Switch fans to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
Gutters, Roof, and Drains
- Patch any missing, damaged or warped shingles.
- Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off the house.
- Clean gutters of any debris.
- Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.
In your instructions to tenants, include any area specific recommendations regarding winter weather and encourage them to be proactive about contacting you with any concerns. It is easier to investigate the possibility of a leak or draft than deal with extensive water damage later!
We want to know:
What do you want your tenants to know about weathering the winter?