Finally, it’s football season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner! The kids are back in school, you are looking forward to tailgating at Soldier Field and taking a trip to your favorite orchard to gorge yourself on fresh donuts, while picking out a pumpkin or apples or both! Fall is a great time of year, the sports the holidays. In between all the fun fall festivities, take a little time to check in on your investment property and do a little preventative property maintenance.
(If you are in a region where snow is not a problem, lucky you, you can feel free to skip ahead in this section)
What are you going to do when the first blizzard of the season hits? Unsurprisingly this first big snow will be labeled “The Blizzard of the Century” or “The Snowpocalypse” or “Snowmageddon”, but anyways we digress. Your poor tenants need to get to work but are snowed in! How will they pay their rent if they can’t get to work!?
Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but it’s an almost real scenario. The point is you need to have a snow removal plan for your property. Do you have a truck with a snowplow you just love using during the winter months and the newest top of the line snow blower? Well, kudos to you. However, for the other 99% of investment property owners out there, a snow removal plan is a must.
We recommend calling around to local snow removal companies in your neighborhood and getting a few quotes. Many companies will offer a discounted early bird special if you commit to paying for a full year upfront. This is a great way to plan for the winter months ahead of time instead of being stuck calling off work to go shovel snow at your investment property.
Those lovely fall leaves just love to hangout in gutters, make sure to clean out the gutters to ensure snow has somewhere to go. Gutter maintenance is important because as snow melts, if there are blockages that stop water from making it to the ground, the water has no choice but to head back towards your property. This backup of water can lead to larger issues such as water damage, mold, and erosion to your property. So do a little preventative maintenance and keep your gutters clean, as well as up-to-date to protect your investment property from damages.
Keep the Heat
During the fall months we make the transition from A/C to heat. Early fall is a great time to have your heating system serviced to ensure it is running efficiently and will be able to keep your tenants warm throughout the upcoming bitter winter. It’s also a great idea to clean your investment property’s heating mechanism. Clean all ducts, air filters, and heat grills of dust and other build-up. This will help ensure higher air quality throughout your property for your tenants.
Preventative maintenance to keep your heating system working efficiently isn’t the only way to make sure the temperature inside stays comfy and cozy. Inspect all windows and doors to the outside to ensure they shut and seal properly. If you find a wonky seal, fix it! This will ensure that once the heat is turned on for the colder months of the year, it stays in and doesn’t escape outside.
Another preventative maintenance measure to keep heat from leaking out is to change out window screens for storm screens. To reduce pesky and possibly harmful condensation buildup on windows, remove screens from the inside of casement windows. Nobody wants foggy windows–at least not from the heating system.
Keeping it Clean
Although your investment property’s heating system got a little workout during the fall months, it’s now going to be putting in a lot of overtime hours. To make sure your furnace or other heating systems are running well, check and change all heating filters. Depending on how heavily the heating system is being used, filters may need to be replaced on a regular basis throughout the coldest months of the year–we suggest every 30 to 60 days.
When was the last time you had your water heater serviced? It’s always best to ask for help before you get yourself into hot water! Before it gets too crazy cold, check your water system and make sure the water heater is working properly. Water heaters should be flushed every two-years to remove mineral deposits and will help your heater run more efficiently. It’s important to make sure your investment property’s hot water heater is working effectively and efficiently to ensure lower water and heating bills, as well as the overall contentment of your tenants.
During the winter months, heating systems can sometimes lead to more moisture in the air and create condensation on cold windows. It’s important to monitor your investment property for excessive moisture levels. If moisture levels are too high it can cause damage as well as create an environment for health issues for tenants (aka a breeding ground for mold and bacteria!). It’s also important to inspect windows and doors throughout the winter months for internal ice build-up and cold air leaks. Be sure to make a note to replace or repair these issues during the spring.
Finding Reliable Help for Your Chicago Investment Properties
Here at Blue Collar, we know that investment property maintenance is a full time job, but it doesn’t have to be YOUR full time job. If you’re tired of spending too much time dealing with maintenance requests, finding reliable vendors, and juggling the logistic of scheduling service calls, contact us today. We’re ready to help!