Jay's Ultimate Fall/Winter Seasonal List Of Chores

Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

It's that time of year again.  Fall and winter provide excellent opportunities to do some sprucing up and getting ready for the season ahead.  So, once again, it's time for: 

Jay's Ultimate Fall/Winter Seasonal List of Chores!

Specifically, the very important  Fall/Winter Seasonal Chores List.  You have to do it anyway, so this gift is for you.

It seems like every year I will be driving home and hear on the news that it will get below freezing during the night.  That's the time I usually realize I have not gotten ready for fall or winter.  My hose bibs immediately spring to mind.  (It's good to be on top of things like I am...) I actually winterized my hose bibs yesterday evening! 

Note:  Obviously this is long past true for some of the country.  My list is pretty complete, though likely not totally complete.  No one ever knows everything.  But, I thought it would be helpful to share some of it with you.  You may consider it to be the "ultimate list" if you want!

* Winterize the exterior hose bib valves. Turn off the interior valves, open the exterior bibs and loose the little cap beside the interior valve to break the vacuum and let water drain out.

* Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Replace the batteries if that has not been done in a while.  If your detectors are older than 10 years of age, replace the entire mechanism.

* Spruce up any disastrous exterior caulking. Be sure to use the right caulk for the right application! Caulking is the cheapest and easiest energy saver.  Be sure the caulk is fully dried before it freezes at night.  Never paint or apply caulk if the temperature is less than 50F.

* Boilers - check the safety relief valve.

* Steam Boilers - Each month, flush the blow-off valve on the low-water cutoff; test the water feed valves.

* Furnace - replace (or clean) the filters monthly; oil the fans or circulators; manipulate the duct dampers or register covers to divert more hot air downstairs and less up (do not close off air completely to any level or room). Oil furnaces should be checked for back puffing. Ideally, all furnaces should have annual maintenance examinations by a licensed professional.

* Clean moss on the roof - be sure to use something that does not kill the grass or garden shrubbery. I understand from northwesterners that after cleaning a pile of laundry detergent along the ridge of the roof will wash down during rains and help clean completely.

* Clean gutters of debris. If your house is near many trees, solid gutter covers are highly recommended.  This is important not only in the fall, but the spring too.

* Place sticky cricket catchers in the basement and garage.

* Septic system - pump the tank if it is time. If you have two fields this is a good time to divert to the unused field.

* Check your chimneys for creosote and sweep if needed.  Repair any damage.

* Improve foundation drainage as necessary.

* Test GFI outlets. 

* Test AFCI breakers.

* Check the garage door reversing mechanism.  Put your foot through the photo eye plane and see if the door reverses.

* Gas water heater - drain some water from the bottom valve to remove sediment.

* Open crawl space vents.

* Dryer - clean behind the dryer and the dryer mechanism itself, clean what is possible of the vent inside the wall and check the vent flap outside for lint.

* Private water system - pump air into the tank if the pump turns on often.

* Sprinkler system - if you cannot do it yourself, have your maintenance company by to blow the water out of the lines, disconnecting things where necessary, so that only air is left inside.  You don't want your tubing breaking underground over the winter.

* Kitchen - clean dust from behind or under the fridge; clean the range hood fan and clean or replace vent screens; clean disposal (vinegar and baking soda work well, followed by lemon peels).

This is by no means a complete list, but it will serve you well. It works for me!

Preparation is everything. As a guy associated with the Boy Scouts for a long time, I can tell you it is good to "be prepared...!"  That may be one of the best mottoes ever written.

My recommendation: Be regular and have foresight! Home maintenance, in the long run, costs about 1% of the value of a home per year. Pay attention to the small stuff, and the big things will take care of themselves.

It's also time to change the clocks!  That's for those of us who honor and obey the man behind the curtain who decides the time of day for us, saving daylight as it were.

Let's see.  When I fall, it's usually forward and when springs break they cost time so I get behind.  So, let's see - we change the clocks in the fall by ...

Wait, if I fall into a hole I have to jump to get out, springing forward, or something like that.

So which is it?  Darn.  Well, just remember to change your clocks this fall!  And get it right.  You don't want to be late for Black Tuesday!

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560



Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Gabe Sanders 10/14/2012 08:53 PM
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Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Okay Jay, great tips and gutters especially that will clog up with leaves in a short while...have a great weekend.

Oct 12, 2012 09:29 PM #1
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Jay I'll need to print this one out to follow the recommendations and get ready for the cold weather.  Enjoy your day good post as always

Oct 12, 2012 09:30 PM #2
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Get gutter covers, Ginny, and be done with that chore!

James - get on it.  We want a full report when you are done.

Oct 12, 2012 09:32 PM #3
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Great list Jay.  This may need to be featured and sent to many, many home owners.

Oct 12, 2012 09:42 PM #4
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I will bookmark this list and share it with my clients.

Oct 12, 2012 09:50 PM #5
Richard Burge Realty/ Burge Homes
Richard Burge Realty/Burge Homes - Conway, SC
Broker in Charge/Owner

Holy cow...I got tired just reading the list...

Oct 12, 2012 09:55 PM #6
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Good morning Jay,

It's a long list, and a great one - homeowners will save themselves a lot of headaches by following regular maintenance routines.  We are working on several items on our check list this weekend, even though I would rather be at the State Fair!

Oct 12, 2012 10:10 PM #7
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Gabe - thank you, but I have no control over that!  Yes, more people should see it.

Gita - this list works no matter where you live.  Some things will not apply everywhere.

Richard - get on it!  Report back when you are done.

Lisa - that emphasizes how many things must be done to maintain a home!  The Spring/Summer list is just as long!  The list can wait - I'd go to the fair.

Oct 12, 2012 10:17 PM #8
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Florida - No frozen hose bibs, no boilers, no furnace, no crickets in the non-existing basements... I have a great start already!

And I always have to say that silly fall back, spring forward thing too to figure out how to reset my clocks. Who is that guy that started that anyway?

Oct 12, 2012 11:52 PM #9
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

No orange palm trees either Fred!  You are AHEAD of the game!  Ben Franklin started Daylight Savings Time, to spend less money on candles.

I use that same fall back saying too.

Oct 13, 2012 12:52 AM #10
Robert Butler
Aspect Inspection - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection

Check lists are always a good practice to be saure that things don't get over looked. The cange of seasons is always upon us faster than we'd like, unless it's summer, then it seems to never come.

Oct 13, 2012 02:33 AM #11
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

This list might miss something or other Robert, but I have been using it for many years.

Is it summer yet?

Oct 13, 2012 03:03 AM #12
Eric Middleton
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc. - Uniondale, NY
Professional Property Inspector

Hey Jay,

My boiler shut down a few days ago, got it cleaned, oil filter changed and a few parts replaced; nothing like a good tune up,works like new. I dodged a bullet. 

Oct 13, 2012 12:30 PM #13
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Great job Eric!  And good news.  Boilers are one of those things that probably need a regular tune up, but perhaps not every year.  I would say every three years or so.  The boiler in my former house worked fine, until my plumber came to replace my water main and noticed the return pipes weren't hot.  Turns out the ciculator pump wasn't working!  We did not know because the pipes would heat up over time.  He had a used pump on the truck, installed it, and boom, it worked great!

Oct 13, 2012 08:53 PM #14
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