Ask The Inspector: Outdoor Winter Month Home Maintenance

Is there anything I can do to help prepare my home for the winter months? Yes, even in Florida there are maintenance tasks a homeowner can do to prepare their home for the coming winter months. While these tasks may not be as extensive as what has to be completed up north, they can still help to prolong the life of different aspects of your home and prevent damage that cool weather can cause.

Outside Tasks To Complete As Recommended By A Home Inspector

  • Gutters and Downspouts. Floridians still experience a “fall”—of leaves that is, especially those who have an oak tree in their yard. Be sure your gutters are clear of leaves, twigs, and other debris. This will help reduce wear and tear to your gutters caused by excessive build up, and it will make your spring preparations a tad bit easier when you aren’t dealing with last seasons gunk.
  • Roof Penetration Inspection. Winter for Florida follows a very intensive storm season. Check your roof, flashing, and sidewalls for any holes or tears caused by storm debris. If any are found, get them patched to prevent water damage and critters using your “attic” area as their den for the winter months.
  • Winterize Faucets (as needed). Occasionally temperatures dip down towards freezing in some parts of Florida. It is important as a homeowner to be aware of all winterization techniques, especially those concerning your indoor and outdoor faucets and sprinklers. By draining and winterizing your pipes before any major cold front can reduce the likelihood of a burst pipe or other catastrophic plumbing issue.
  • Repair Outdoor Walkways. Cold months can lead to further damage to already damaged sidewalks, steps, or driveways. These areas may not freeze but are often left covered with yard debris which can worsen rot growing in your front steps or attract unwanted growth in the cracks of walkways or your driveway.
  • Chimney Care. Surprisingly, many of the pre-2010 homes in Florida were built with a working fireplace. This was probably to promote the use of natural heat sources rather than running the furnace on the few chilly nights we get. If your home has a functioning fireplace and chimney, it should be seasonally cleared of any leaves that often build up during fall and birds that attempt to nest through the winter months. This can be an exhausting and difficult job without the right tools, so you may need to call a professional chimney sweep to care for your fireplace.
  • Check Your Weather-stripping/Caulking. Loose or damaged weather-stripping or caulking (which ever may be used) can cause up to a 10% spike in your energy bill, so be sure to check and repair any issues you find. Inspect the inside and outside of windows as well as around and at the bottom of all entry doors.
  • Winterize Your Lawn. Complete one final mow, weeding, and trimming to your grass, bushes, and garden areas. This will help keep your lawn healthy as it goes dormant and waits for spring. During the winter months, keep up with any fallen leaves to reduce the risk of attracting critters—furry and slithery alike—to make a home where you live.

Annual Home Maintenance Inspection

Winter is also a good time to consider an annual home maintenance inspection report. During these inspections, a certified home inspector reviews the main areas of your home and compiles a list of important tasks to complete in order to keep your home well-cared for and reduce expensive repair bills. By conducting an annual home maintenance inspection, you can identify minor concerns before they become major concerns. It can also be beneficial when you sit down and review your homeowner's insurance to see where you need to make changes in coverage or limits. Contact the home inspecting pros at AcuSystem for a thorough home review to help you stay on top of your homeownership tasks.

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