It’s that time of year again. Every homeowner in the Greater Kansas City area is watching the temperature drop, looking at the 10-day forecast, and thinking about what needs to be done around the house—inside and out—to prepare for another cold, wet winter. That’s why we prepares Your Autumn Home Maintenance Checklist and Associated Costs.
This year is no different. In fact, we’ve already set a record for one of the top 10 wettest years on record in Kansas City, and it’s still only October. In the months to come, we may be looking at rain, snow, or a mix of both, but we can be pretty sure that precipitation is on the way. Whether it falls as rain, snow, sleet, or ice, water in any form can create costly damage to homes, especially those that are unprepared.
Here’s a handy autumn checklist from your friends at HouseMax that will help you get ready for the winter weather in a cost-effective way. HouseMax is a house buyer in Kansas City that’s been in the home-buying and home-repair business for years, so we know what to watch for and how much it can cost.
Spend a weekend with this autumn checklist and get your house ready for winter!
- Give your heating system a tune-up.
A new HVAC unit will run you $2,500 to start, plus the cost of installation. Before you start counting out your pennies for a replacement furnace, though, it’s important to have a heating and cooling professional come out to check your system. Even if it’s brand new, you should have someone take a look at your heater before it kicks on for the first time. A professional will be able to catch small problems before they become big enough to require a furnace replacement.
Find out if your HVAC or plumbing professional services water heaters. It’s a good idea to have your water heater drained and flushed by a professional once a year to remove sediment that can get in the way of your system’s proper function.
- Inspect the pipes
There are few more frustrating winter emergencies than frozen pipes. Burst pipes are bad news at any time of year, but pipes that freeze are likely to burst. On a cold winter day, a burst pipe means lots of freezing water everywhere.
Have a plumber check the pipes to make sure they’re properly insulated. Exposed pipes should be insulated with foam or fiberglass sleeves. Having the pipes winterized (and water shut off too) is particularly important if you own a home that has recently become vacant. If the pipes do freeze, turn off the water shut-off valve as soon as possible. That’ll help prevent plumbing bills that can run upwards of $2,000 for serious issues!
- Grab a ladder and check the roof.
Damaged or missing shingles or roof tiles are obvious problems, but there are some subtler warning signs to keep an eye out for as well: places where shingles are buckled or cracked or rust spots on the flashing. These can be signs that water is standing on your roof, and you don’t want that when water turns to snow later in the year. A complete roof replacement can run you anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, but if you catch a leak early, you may not have to replace just yet.
- Trim the trees.
There’s a dual benefit to pruning trees and shrubs in the fall. It keeps branches from damaging power lines, windows, or the roof of your house in the event of an ice storm, and it encourages healthy growth when spring comes around again. If you don’t keep trees trimmed, you may end up having to tear them out entirely, which can run anywhere from $750 to $1,500 depending on the size of the tree.
- Seal windows and doors.
A lot of the heat that your home loses in the winter goes out around windows and doors that aren’t properly insulated. An act as simple as putting caulk or weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce drafts can lead to a massive saving on your energy bill. Plus, a little caulk or weatherstripping is a lot cheaper than replacing a window or door, which costs around $450 per window or $1,500 per door, plus installation on both.
While you’re at it, test all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. Once your house is all sealed uptight, you want to make sure that only good stuff is sealed in with you.
- Clean your gutters.
Even if you’ve already checked your gutters and downspouts this fall, leaves, twigs, and other debris can clog them up in a hurry. Clean them regularly throughout the fall and into the winter. Clogged gutters can cause all sorts of problems, including water backing up onto the roof that can lead to rotted wood, ice dams, and other potentially expensive troubles.
Proper care of your gutters means more than cleaning them out, too. Keep an eye on them to make sure that they’re draining properly and that water doesn’t pool in areas where it can cause damage, such as around your foundation. If you can’t do the job yourself, a professional gutter cleaning may run you between $125 and $250, and it’s well worth the expense. Major foundation repairs can cost $10,000 and up, after all!
- Call in a professional chimney sweep.
There’s not much that’s cozier on a cold winter night than snuggling up in front of a crackling fire, but a chimney that isn’t properly cleaned and inspected can put your whole family at risk! An inspection and cleaning can run you anywhere from $150 to $500, depending on what you need to have done, but the peace of mind it buys you is priceless.
- Inspect the deck.
That wooden deck may have gotten a lot of use during the summer when you were grilling and hanging out in the sun, but it will probably lie fallow in the winter, where it may be covered with snow or ice. Keeping an eye on your deck and making sure that it’s properly sealed will protect it from rot and other problems. A professional deck inspection typically costs about $200, and that’s a lot less than replacing your deck, which could run around $10,000.
If our autumn home maintenance checklist and associated costs overwhelmed you reach out. If your house is going to need more work than you’re comfortable with to get it ready for winter, or if you’re just ready to sell and don’t want to deal with major home repairs, you can always reach out to a professional house buyer in Kansas City. Need to sell your home fast? HouseMax has been making generous cash offers on houses just like yours for years, so if you’re downsizing, relocating, or simply interested in turning your distressed home into quick cash, contact HouseMax today!