Pre-winter Preps

Pre-winter-PrepsThe first days of the month are always a bit busier with clients and customers along with the extra first of the month accounting that must be performed. I found myself today in and out of my car more often than usual simply making sure everyone had everything they needed to keep the world of real estate moving forward.

I attempt to be pro-active with the vacant homes I have listed by checking that the furnaces are working as well as thermostats set at cooler yet safer ranges for the cold that will likely be arriving sooner than we want. I’m still in dis-belief how often I drive past homes and apartments that have some of their combination storm windows up. Owners and tenants evidently don’t seem to connect the dots in that if you don’t have your living quarters buttoned up for winter, the gas and electric bills will be higher than they should be simply due to negligence. I always have extra thermostat batteries at the office for replacement of dead batteries in thermostats of vacant homes that I have listed should they go bad.

It appears Alliant Energy is replacing some gas lines in the downtown this week as I’ve been noticing quite a bit of digging in back alleys and street corners. Some of those old lines must have had some weak spots in them. Better safe than sorry when it comes to natural gas leaks especially when it comes to main lines. I remember hearing a number years ago of a tenant who didn’t realize the oven had to be lit with a match and turned the oven on with a pizza in it. Not too much later while the tenant was in the living room watching TV, the oven door blew open with his evening meal on the floor. Is that what you call lightening speed pizza delivery? Evidently the pilot light from the stovetop eventually ignited the gas that was building up in the oven. I’m sure that was a scary moment and indeed a great lesson learned. Every time I even think I smell natural gas, I make sure I investigate and make the appropriate phone calls.

I do hope the residents of North Iowa are getting the fallen leaves out of their yards and either placed in compost bins or out to the curbs for the city workers to pick up. Shoveling snow with leaves on sidewalks is not a fun job and creates more work as well as hazards. I’ve also been telling people to make sure the weeds are out of the cracks in their sidewalks and driveways as they don’t allow for a clean removal of ice and snow. Again, it seems people don’t think forward and consider the cause and effects of abandoned maintenance.

As yet another precaution, everyone should take time to inspect their gutters and roof vents before the snow arrives. The squirrels and raccoons are now looking for a warm place to hold up for winter. It may be work for them to chew their way in, but it is even more work to get them out and secure against re-entry. Seems each year I find the wild becoming more acclimated to living with what they likely consider “those scary humans”. I’m sure you all can think of a few more pre-winter preps in and around your homes.