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Fall Maintenance Tips: Preparing Your Rental Property for Winter

Fall is here, which means that cold weather isn’t far behind. Since Maine’s deep freeze is sure to come, now is the time to prepare your rental property for the upcoming season, well ahead of time. Here are 10 fall maintenance tasks to help get your rental property ready for a drop in temperature:

1. Gutter Clean Out

Any leaves and debris that have accumulated in your gutters will need to be removed before winter comes. Prevent water build-up around the foundation and gutter detachment from ice damns by clearing out your gutter system. Clean out will also ensure that the gutters are prepared for water flow, when the snow starts melting.

2. Roof Inspection

Clearing off your roof is an important part of preparing for winter, since leaves and branches can cause build-up of ice and snow and put extra weight on your roof that it might not be able to withstand. It is also a good time to check your roof for any missing shingles, holes or damage that could be the source of future leaks and make repairs before the snow falls.

3. Basic Landscaping

Since snow and ice have a tendency to weigh down trees and branches, it is important to trim tree limbs and bushes to lower the risk of falling branches and minimize damage to the property. Don’t forget to also clear leaves to prevent damage to your lawn and properly store / cover any outdoor items that should not be subjected to winter weather. 

4. Window & Door Check

Cold winter air that flows in through cracks in windows and doors can raise heating bills and make for a chilly winter in Maine. Remove all window air conditioning units and make sure all windows are closed and locked with a tight seal. Visually inspect all windows and door frames – if there are any air leaks, caulking, weather-stripping or replacement may be required. 

5. Winterizing Outdoor Systems

If the property has an outdoor sprinkler, faucet or hose, it’s very important that you winterize the system to prevent it from freezing and bursting. By draining all exterior pipes of water and closing off the valves, frozen pipes can be prevented.

6. Furnace Servicing

It’s time to do an annual furnace checkup and cleaning, for the purpose of energy saving, prolonging the life of your furnace and to ensure it is working at top capacity before the winter months. If your property has an HVAC system, clean or replace the filters before tenants begin blasting the heat. Dirty filters can cause your furnace to run less efficiently, resulting low heat output, higher bills, and increased wear and tear. 

7. Chimney & Fireplace Inspection

At the start of heating season, fall is the perfect time to inspect fireplaces, chimneys, flues and vents. Have a professional come clean and inspect the chimney for signs of obstruction or hazard prior to the season’s first use.

8. Fire Safety Check

All smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested, since tenants will be running the heat and/or using a fireplace during the coming colder months. 

9. Animal-Proofing

To discourage squirrels, raccoons and skunks from nesting in the attic or basement for relief from the cold, animal-proof your rental property. Install metal screening over possible entry points, to ensure no animal entry.

10. Securing Snow Services

The earlier you secure your snow removal service, the better. Most professional snow removal companies are in high demand. Planning for and committing to a snow removal service early is the way to go to ensure top-notch service that is there when you need them most.

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