The fall of 2019 certainly has not been a typical one in Southeastern Wisconsin. We seemed to skip right by the beautiful autumn days and plunge right into winter. This has left homeowners trying to get their home and yard ready for winter with snow and leaves on the ground! Snow in October left boats pulled off the lake in a snowstorm and outdoor furniture blanketed in frost and snow.

Custom Lake Home Fall into Winter Maintenance Checklist 2019

Custom lake homeowners who take their seasonal home maintenance tasks seriously save money on energy bills and have a chance to get ahead of mechanical issues that could become costly emergency repairs when temperatures drop below freezing. With winter’s early arrival, it makes it a bit more challenging, but all the more important with the possibility of a long cold season ahead.

Indoor Home Maintenance

1.     Schedule HVAC Maintenance – Scheduling a yearly furnace inspection will reduce the likelihood of a breakdown during a freeze. Even newly built homes should have it inspected at least every other year.

2.     Replace Furnace Filters – Replacing furnace filters every 3 to 4 months makes your heating system run more efficiently, distributing heat better and cutting down your energy costs.

3.     Seal Drafts – Seal drafts (you can find them using a candle – watch for dancing flames) and then seal cracks around windows and doors to lower your heating costs over the winter.

4.     Drain and Flush Water Heater – Drain and flush your water heater once a year to remove sediment (minerals like magnesium and calcium) that can force the system to work harder to heat your water.

5.     Insulate Pipes – Insulate exposed pipes with fiberglass or foam sleeves, which can be purchased at most home improvement stores.

Outdoors is certainly a little more challenging. There has been a joke amongst Wisconsinites that we have to “shrake” this fall (it’s a combination of shovel and rake)! But it is even more important this year to maintain your outdoors with snow already here.

Outdoor Home Maintenance

6.     Clean Gutters – Clean gutters of leaves and check that gutters and downspouts are clear of obstructions so they’ll direct water away from the foundation, walkways, and driveways. The combination of ice, leaves, and snow in your gutters will make quite a mess. Be very cautious or hire a professional to do this with the ice and snow.

7.     Inspect Your Roof – Look for damaged or missing roof tiles and when you head back inside check in the attic for evidence of leaks or anything coming loose. Spotting and repairing a roof leak now saves you the cost of patching it throughout the winter. Again, with snow already on the roof, it will be more challenging and you may want to seek professional help.

8.     Finish Seasonal Lawn Care – You may find your hoses and water already frozen, so drain your sprinkler system, turn off faucets, store hoses. If you did not get an early start you will likely be doing additional lawn care in the spring.

9.     Check Your Deck – Clean off fallen leaves and other debris, look for missing or rusted bolts, boards that need to replaced and signs of rot, which could worsen over a long, wet winter.

10.  Check Winter Gear –  Unfortunately, Mother Nature forced us to do this early. You already had to pull out the snow shovels and make sure you’ve got enough ice melt. Hopefully, if you have a third party do your snow removal, you’ve already checked in with them to make sure your regular service is in place.

11.  Properly Store Piers and Boats – This year added a challenge of getting piers and boat lifts out with snow and ice in the mix. Proper storage of all of your lake gear is essential to have it in top performance next spring.

Most of these items, with the exception of HVAC maintenance, can be completed by the average homeowner. This fall, the early arrival of winter certainly has made that much more challenging, so if you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these things on your own, hire a licensed professional. You’re better off spending the extra money for professional help than potentially creating a bigger problem trying to do it yourself. Once you have completed your checklist, settle in and enjoy your custom-built home.