The calendar says it’s “September,” which means milder weather is approaching. However, as any resident of South Florida knows, the tropical temperatures in our area make the next several months very busy and inviting for those escaping the colder and harsher climate the rest of the nation experiences.
While cold spells do occur here during the winter, there is no doubt about it, this is one of the best times of the year to live in Florida. With popular beaches, serene and comfortable weather, it’s no wonder our population increases each year. Becoming a homeowner in Florida is a dream for many. However, if you are one of the lucky ones, maintaining your property can be challenging. Now is a good time to take the necessary steps to protect your home this fall.
Did you know that in July of this year South Florida had record rainfall? Reports say that during this month, we had the wettest start to the rainy season in 45 years! Regular home maintenance is necessary to ensuring the value of your home while avoiding costly repairs. It’s natural that during the summer, when our temperatures are at their warmest and most humid, the very last thing you want to do is make home repairs. But now is the time to walk around your property and make necessary changes before colder weather arrives.
Here are some valuable tips for South Florida homeowners. Commercial building owner? These will help you as well:
1. Protect the outside of your home by checking and repairing weather stripping around windows and doors. Often, the hot, sticky and humid weather will damage the seals protecting these critical areas. Look for holes and wear and tear around light fixtures, outlets, plumbing and of course, doors and windows.
2. Check the roof of your home. Do you see any cracked or broken shingles or tiles? If your roof calls for closer inspection, make an appointment with a professional and well-respected roofing company. Ask friends or neighbors for their recommendations.
3. With cooler weather arriving, check your fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Examine and test each device thoroughly and replace the batteries if it has been a while.
4. September is a great time to clean your gutters. While our rainfall is usually limited now through May, we have had a wetter summer so make sure your gutters are draining properly. As South Florida professional property inspectors, we have seen our share of water damage to homes and basements simply from gutters that are full of leaves and other debris.
5. Don’t forget to inspect your window screens. We all like fresh, cooler air to flow through our homes, but make sure your window screens don’t have any holes or rips, which allow insects to find their way into your home.
6. Now that the higher temperatures will soon subside, you may be using your air conditioner less frequently. So be sure and change, replace or clean filters that are dirty. Why is this important? Because clean filters increase the airflow and prevent damage to your cooling and heating equipment. Also, prune any overgrown bushes or shrubs near your air conditioning unit as that can restrict the circulation of air.
7. Check your swimming pool to see if any repairs are needed. Chances are, you have used it quite a bit this summer, so look to see if there are any cracks, clogged pump baskets, a faulty heater, dirty filters or other issues that perhaps may need professional attention. Because a pool is such a huge investment, and a much added value for your South Florida home, staying on top of maintenance is a must.
8. Summer isn’t summer without wasps and bees nests. All too often as inspectors we see large nests that can create havoc for a homeowner. If you haven’t already, now is the time to take care for those pesky nests. Depending on the size, you may need to call a professional exterminator.
9. Now may be a good time to paint the outside of your house. Walk around your property and look for any peeling or blistered paint thanks to our hot, Florida sun. Exposed wood can create problems if you neglect painting your home for too long. If you have a home with a stucco finish, look for cracks or other damage as delaying until a crack widens can damage the underlying wall.
10. Last, but certainly not least, now is a great time to review your homeowner’s insurance policy. Believe it or not, too many homeowners are unsure what is covered and what is not. What happens if a pipe bursts? Will temporary housing be covered should you lose your home to fire? What are your deductibles? Have you added anything to your home, like expensive jewelry, computers or a swimming pool to your home recently? It’s time to get a full understanding of your policy if you are unsure.