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Cleaning up your yard is one of many fall chores that keep your property in shape. (Michigan Medicine image)

Autumn is a Good Time for Property Maintenance

Published: |

It’s easy to get excited by spring cleaning. The promise of new life, colourful spring flowers, and the coming summer are a goal to work towards. But it’s equally important to be aware of the chores that need doing in the run-up to winter. They might not make your property look more beautiful, but they’re important in preparing it to deal with the wind, rain and snow winter delivers.

Change the filters

Ventilation systems took a beating when smoke-filled skies rolled into the Lower Mainland in early August. Many of us probably saw photos of filters from air exchange systems clogged with brownish particulates. This fall, take another look to make sure that everything is clear. Clean filters are more effective and will ensure the freshest air enters the house.

Clear the leaves

Raking leaves is a fall ritual. While many people in Vancouver think it’s OK to simply push fallen leaves over the curb into the gutter, it’s not. When the rains come, they’ll become a sodden mass that can clog drains and lead to flooded streets. Do the right thing and bag the leaves, twigs, and any other organics from your yard. Set it out for collection and composting with other household organic waste. Better yet: if you have your own composter, compost it yourself for use on next year’s garden.

It’s not just the leaves in your yard that require attention. Check your house’s gutters and drain pipes. Organic matter can build up here, leading to blockages that could result in water backing up and leaking into your house. By ensuring that water flows freely and is draining well away from the foundation, you can prevent leaks and water ingress.

Check the pipes

Vancouver seldom sees a winter like last year, with a prolonged cold snap that saw temperatures dip below -5 degrees Celsius for more than five weeks. Most local buildings aren’t prepared for that kind of weather. Such conditions raise the risk that pipes near exterior walls will burst. This has happened to friends of mine during even warmer winters than last year’s when they turned the heat down during a winter holiday. They came home to a soggy mess.

The solution is making sure water pipes are in not only in good condition but insulated. Turning off the water before an extended absence can help, too. Also, ask someone you trust to regularly check your house to ensure that everything is in order. (Often, insurance companies require some kind of daily check to ensure a prompt response to issues, and in turn, mitigate damage claims.)

It’s not just interior pipes you need to worry about. When you’re cleaning up your yard, disconnect hoses and ensure they’re empty of water and bugs. Check that any outside taps are shut off (you may even be able to cut off the water supply to these altogether).

By winterizing your home, you can prevent trouble from happening and make sure that it remains cozy during the cold, dark months of winter. Regular maintenance is also an important part of maintaining a property’s value. Anything worth keeping is worth keeping in good order. With a little attention each fall, not just in spring, your home will be comfortable for years to come.

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