As fall approaches, there are several regular maintenance tasks that a property manager should perform. This includes basic outdoor tasks like gutter cleaning and raking leaves and potentially more significant jobs like replacing one’s roof or HVAC system.
Whatever tasks your property demands, it’s smart to err on the side of caution to prevent substantial property loss and keep your tenants happy.
Twenty-Seven Basic Maintenance Tasks
There are some basic outdoor tasks property managers are likely to perform in the fall.
- Cleaning your gutters and downspouts.
- Trimming branches hanging over your roof, or any branches that could fall in a severe enough storm.
- Inspecting your roof and chimney.
- Raking your leaves.
- Closing or installing storm windows.
- Removing any hoses from spigots and drain and store indoors, coiled and flat.
- Putting away outdoor furniture, planters, and anything else you don’t want all winter.
- Testing your snow blower/thrower. Buy an extra belt before winter since belts are harder to come by once it starts snowing.
- Making sure you have rock salt, sand, and snow shovels.
- Sealing all gaps or drafts (heat loss through windows accounts for 20 to 35% of your home’s energy). This also keeps animals out of your house.
- If you’re in a fire-prone area, clearing out underbrush, leaves, and keeping anything else that burns at least 20 feet away from your home or any property structures.
- Cleaning out your dryer’s lint trap to prevent fires (although, this is something you should do after every use if your dryer collects enough lint).
- Making sure all your pipes are insulated to prevent frozen or exploding pipes.
- Doing any outdoor projects that it’s time to do or that you’ve been putting off before winter arrives.
- Having your boiler and furnace serviced and inspected.
- Cleaning and store away any landscaping tools. Anything gas-powered should be drained of both oil and gas. Consider adding fuel stabilizer to any small motors that can't be drained.
- Vacuuming your refrigerator and freezer coils.
- Checking and cleaning your bathroom fan venting.
- Checking your basement for leaks or other problems.
- Flushing your water heater. If it’s time, replace your anode rod, which protects the metal lining inside your water heater from explosion or corrosion.
- Inspecting and, if need be, pump your septic tank.
- Cleaning garbage disposal (monthly).
- Cleaning range-hood filters (monthly).
- Winterizing your air conditioning system.
- Draining your lawn irrigation system.
- Checking your fire extinguishers.
- Checking your deck for popped up nails or screws.
Four Larger Property Maintenance Tasks
These are some potentially bigger jobs that may be a part of your fall maintenance and should be finished before the winter arrives.
1. Roof Repair or Replacement
If your roof is over 15-years-old, then the following are signs that it may already require repair.
- Granule Loss: Granules are what protect shingles made out of asphalt and fiberglass. When your shingles get older, the granules end up falling off and running down into your gutters when it rains. So, if you see granules collecting near your downspouts or around your house, it’s time to get your roof replaced.
- Worn/Damaged Shingles. As shingles age, they get old and brittle. This leads to cracks, fractures, and eventual blow off. When shingles are peeling or curling up, they are likely cracked and fractured and about to blow off.
- Algae/Mold: As the granules come off your roof, shingles start to become absorbent, which sets the stage for algae and mold. This is particularly the case if plant material falls onto your roof and makes it more damp and dark. If you’re standing away from your home and notice any black streaks running down your roof, you’re looking at algae and mold.
- Flashing or Cement Damage: To prevent leaks, metal flashing or roof cement is installed in non-contiguous parts of the roof, like where shingles meet walls and chimneys. When flashing or cement becomes cracked, they start to lift away from the roof or rust. The same is true of plumbing vent boots as well.
You can have a professional look at your roof for free, given that so many contractors offer free estimates. You should also check your homeowner’s insurance stipulations since qualifying for compensation may require routine roof inspections. The fall is a particularly good time to install a new roof because it’s not prohibitively hot or cold.
So, don’t dilly-dally if you know your roof needs replacing. Delaying a roof repair can lead to your sheetrock, paint, electrical system, and more damage.
2. Exterior Repainting and House Washing
Paint chipping or fading may indicate that it’s time to get your home repainted or that your current coat requires maintenance. If your paint chips or peels, then the materials underneath may be susceptible to moisture and damage.
An old paint job is also unsightly, and something that’s hard to deal with when it’s colder.
Similarly, the fall is an excellent time to wash your house if it’s dirty. Since you never know when a vacancy may strike, it’s best to always keep your home looking its best.
3. HVAC Maintenance and Replacement Services
As soon as fall begins to approach, you should consider HVAC service and maintenance. That means:
- checking your HVAC filters
- cleaning your vents
- cleaning your outdoor units if you have one
- making sure your heating system works
You can even have an HVAC specialist look your system over and provide a pre-winter tune-up.
The fall is also an excellent time to install a new HVAC system if you’re due for one and install a smart thermostat. Both are excellent ways to save money and keep your tenants happy.
4. Ice Dam Mitigation
An ice dam is ice at the edge of a roof that keeps snow and water from properly draining. Snow and water end up backed up behind the dam, leading to leaks and damage to your walls, ceilings, insulation, etc.
To stop ice dams, you need your entire roof to be the same temperature as your eaves, the part of your roof that hangs over your wall. Eaves are there to make sure the water that flows off your roof lands further from your home than it otherwise would.
Bottom Line on Property Maintenance
Knowing just how much a property manager has to do every season is reason enough to hire one.
With a property manager, your investment may end up getting better care than your own home, but that’s because there’s no risk of you moving out at the end of your lease. An unresponsive property manager is often the culprit behind someone moving out.
A proactive property manager cuts this danger off at the pass by ensuring there are fewer issues to respond to.