The Autumn season is well underway and the colder temperatures are starting to creep in! There are certain things homeowners in the Tri-Cities, Washington need to know about to prepare for the winter months ahead. It’s important to take care of our homes – they’re likely the most expensive item we own! Take the time each season to prepare and be proactive.
We’ve put together a Fall Maintenance Checklist specifically for the Tri-Cities to help homeowners in our area be prepared for the freezing weather headed our way.
For someone who grew up in a warmer state, sprinkler blow-out season can be a completely foreign concept! What is it and why is it even necessary?
Having your sprinklers blown out involves hooking up an air compressor to each sprinkler zone and literally blowing out all the excess water that’s resting in the pipes. What happens if you don’t do this? As our temperatures reach below freezing, the water in the pipes will freeze and expand and oftentimes cause the pipe to crack or break completely. You won’t know until spring comes and you turn on your sprinklers for the first time. The water will leak out of the broken pipe causing all sorts of problems on your property.
If you have the right size air compressor, it’s possible to DIY your sprinkler blow out. If not, make sure and hit up a Tri-Cities professional. You can’t miss the dozens of signs lining the streets this time of year.
Inspect Your Roof
September and October had a couple of the windiest days we’ve ever experienced in the Tri-Cities, and that’s saying something! Make sure either you or a local professional take a look at your roof to see if you lost any shingles. The last thing you want is to find out you’re missing shingles when the first snowfall hits. That can lead to water damage and leaks in your roof. Disclaimer – If you don’t hire a pro, we highly recommend using binoculars to inspect your roof if it has a steep slope or is a multi-level home.
Check Window and Door Seals
September 2020 brought the worst smoke we’ve ever lived through in the Tri-Cities, and it probably taught you where the weak points in your house are with smoke leaking through bad window and door seals. Here’s your reminder to get those taken care of! Applying caulking or weatherstripping is a simple and cost effective solution.
You can save big on your electricity bill by making sure your windows and doors are properly sealed. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can even save up to 25-30% if your windows and doors are properly sealed. Go here to learn how to detect air leaks in your home.
Get Your Furnace Serviced
There’s nothing worse than a furnace going out in the middle of a cold snap. Be proactive and have someone come and service it before the freezing weather is here to stay. Our favorite HVAC professional is Bob Rhodes Heating and Air. They’ll take good care of you and make sure your HVAC system is ready to handle the coming months.
Change Your Filters
As we mentioned above, 2020 delivered a terrible wildfire season and delivered the smokiest September in our Tri-Cities memory. We all rushed to the store to grab new air filters at the beginning of the smoke-a-geddon, but did we change them when it was over? You should be changing your air filters on a monthly basis, and now is a great time to start that habit. Having clean air filters not only saves on your utility bills, but it can increase the life of your HVAC system and decrease allergens in the home.
Prune Your Plants
Curb appeal is vital to keeping your home value high, as it’s the first thing prospective buyers see when they pull up to your home. Keep your landscaping in good condition by pruning your bushes and plants now.
Check Your Chimney
Not a lot of newer homes in the Tri-Cities have real fireplaces these days, but if you’re one of the lucky ones, make sure you check your chimney for blockages and to confirm your damper is in working condition. Hiring a professional is your best bet to make sure you prevent any dangerous chimney fires.
Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Monitors
It’s recommended that you change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors every six months. October and April are great months to do it! Stay ahead of the game and avoid that terrible beeping in the middle of the night. Change your batteries now!
Clean Your Gutters
Again, not many Tri-Cities homes have gutters due to the lack of rain we receive. But if you do, autumn is a great time to clean those out and prepare for the season ahead. Put on your gloves and scoop those leaves and gunk out while checking for any cracks or damage.
Store Your Hoses
It’s time to coil up your hoses and put them in the shed or garage to avoid any freezing damage. It’s also smart to put those foam insulators on each of your outdoor spigots. This will prevent the same freezing issues in your sprinkler system and keep pipes from cracking.
Clean and Store Your Mower
Letting gas sit in your mower all winter can cause damage to the engine. (Been there, done that.) You have two options – use the mower until the fuel tank is completely dry, or add fuel stabilizer. It’s a cheap fix. Add the stabilizer to your fuel tank with the fuel that’s in there and make sure you let your mower run for a few minutes.
Spray out the grass catch bag, clean up your mower, and tuck it away in your garage (or shed if you’re lucky). Taking simple steps such as this will increase the life of your equipment and save you from spending unnecessary money in the future.
Give your lawn one last round of that special autumn weed and feed to keep your grass looking better than the neighbors next year. Ask an expert at a garden center what the best fertilizer is for your lawn in the fall, and apply it a few weeks before your last mow. Fertilizing in the fall gives your grass the boost it needs to grow and multiply in the spring.
Buy Your Snow Shovels and Salt NOW!
Check your snow shovels! Don’t be caught rushing to every big box store in Kennewick in the middle of a snow storm. Make sure you have a couple of shovels and sidewalk salt now! You’re welcome for the reminder.
Preventative maintenance is key as a homeowner. An ounce of prevention can save you hundreds – or thousands – of dollars down the road and help your home maintain or increase in value over time.
Are you looking to buy or sell? We’re happy to help. Contact us today at (509) 563-2224.