Those of us familiar with Fairfield County, CT winters know that the season can be brutal on our homes, particularly in coastal towns like Greenwich, Westport, and Fairfield. Most of the time damage from the snow, freezing rain, ice, and cold temperatures is caused slowly, out of site. To avoid issues it’s important to prepare your house for winter before the harsh weather sets in. Some of these home maintenance tasks can be accomplished by homeowners; others are best handled by a residential property management team that provides handyman services.

Buttoning Up Your Building Envelope
When water ends up in the wrong places it can cause big problems including rot and mold. To avoid water issues from rain, sleet and melting snow and ice, you’ll want to make sure water is effectively flowing away from the house. The first line of defense is drainage. Start by cleaning your gutters, or have your handyman service do so. Remove all debris then test each downspout to make sure they are flowing, as they should. If you have basement flooding issues, or basement water problems of any kind, make sure the gutter downspouts extend at least four feet beyond the foundation.

Inspection and Repair of Your Roof
The roof is one of the most critical elements to shore up during residential winter preparation. Prepping the roof starts with a thorough inspection. You’ll want to make sure there are no loose or missing shingles, the gutters are secured to the structure and not damaged, and that the flashing is properly fastened and in good condition. If you live on a wooded lot, like many Fairfield County residents do, make sure there are no low hanging tree limbs over the house, as they may break with the weight of heavy snow and ice and cause damage to the roof. Also, check for potential signs of leaks in the roof by inspecting the attic for mold, damaged insulation, and/or water stains.

Roof inspection and repair is one step that is probably best handled by an experienced handyman service or residential property management company. They’ll be able to not only identify issues, but also make necessary home repairs. Making sure the proper steps are taken by hiring a home maintenance professional can mean the difference between a small home repair now and a major carpentry project in the future.

Standard Yearly Home Maintenance
The major mechanical systems of your home require yearly maintenance. When it comes to winter prep one of the most important systems to service will be your HVAC. Having your furnace cleaned and inspected each year is critical to keeping it in good working order, and doing so will help you avoid larger issues down the line. A trusted HVAC professional can help you here.

If you have a sump pump make sure the system is fully operational by testing the backflow valves and making sure the discharge pipe is unobstructed. If you have a radon removal system that uses a carbon filter make sure the filter is changed out if it’s due. Also, make sure that your chimney has been cleaned before using the fireplace–and carefully inspect the exterior of the chimney to ensure there are no cracks or leaks. Lastly, if you’re due for a septic cleaning it’s best to get that done before the snow piles up on the yard.

Shore up Your Plumbing
Frozen pipes can be an issue when really low temperatures set in. To help avoid pipes from freezing you’ll want to make sure they are properly insulated, and that insulation has not degraded or been removed by animals. Plumbing that runs along outside walls should receive particular attention, as they will be more exposed to the cold.

Have your water heater inspected to make sure it’s’ working properly to avoid a breakdown when you need it the most. And it’s never a bad idea to have your garbage disposal checked to ensure it doesn’t break down while your preparing your holiday meals.

Protecting Shoreline Area & Waterfront Homes
For Fairfield County residents in shoreline towns like Fairfield, Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, and Westport, certain property maintenance steps will be even more important. Shoreline areas typically see stronger winds and driving rain. As a result these residents should take special care when inspecting shingles, flashing and chimneys. They should also keep a close eye on tree limbs that are near to the house. And proper drainage will be essential for high water table areas that are more prone to basement flooding.

Undertaking thorough winter property maintenance can require a range of experienced professionals. A trusted residential property management company that provides handyman services can take the entire process off your shoulders. At Duffy Home Solutions we have a full team of trusted, experienced home maintenance pros at our fingertips to handle the entirety of your winter preparation needs, as well as your year round maintenance needs. Contact us to learn more.


The best way to protect your home, likely your biggest investment, is through preventative maintenance. What may be only a small problem now could develop into a disaster down the road. And the time and cost of preventative care is only a fraction of what you might have to spend if you neglect it. Here’s a checklist of tasks that we recommend for every home as the Autumn season sets in.

  • Winterize air conditioning systems. Duffy Home Solutions recommends replacing filters at the end of the usage season so the older dusty filters are not compromising your system.
  • Get heating system ready for winter.  Check for leaks around windows and doors. Make sure heating vents are open and not blocked by furniture. Duffy Home Solutions makes sure their customers furnaces are serviced/inspected annually
  • Flush hot water heater and remove sediment. This prolongs the life of the heater and helps with efficiency as well.
  • Turn off and flush outdoor water faucets. Also flush hoses and store them. Winterize sprinkler systems.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Once most of the leaves have fallen, have gutters and downspouts cleaned out. Clogged gutters during rainstorms can cause water to pool and damage your roof or siding. Don’t forget any sunken window wells!
  • Get chimney cleaned. You most likely have not used it in a few months and want to make sure it is in top shape for those cozy nights at home.
  • Test sump pump.  You don’t want to wait until you need your sump pump to find out it is not working.
  • Check driveway/pavement for cracks. Make sure to have re-sealed before winter; water can freeze and expand in the cracks, causing more damage.
  • Make sure you have snow removal planned. Don’t wait until that first big snowfall to look for a snow plowing service provider!
  • Inspect, and possibly change out HVAC filters. Many experts will say to change the filters monthly, but that is not always necessary. Duffy Home Solutions has found for smaller families without pets or allergies, changing the filters every 2-3 months is sufficient. If the filter is dirty, we change it out, otherwise inspect it again next month.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home. Is any paint chipping? Is any siding damage? Are there any holes in your brick? Take a close look all around your house, and be sure to check the foundation for any cracks. Make sure there are no entry points for little critters looking to escape the cold!
  • Test smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. Another simple task; your detectors should have a reset button. If the alarm sounds, you are good to go. If not, replace batteries immediately and test again. If it still does not sound, it is possible there is simply corrosion on the battery terminal, and it won’t detect new batteries.  Clean it and try again. If it still doesn’t work, you will likely need a new detector.
  • Inspect your fire extinguisher’s. This inspection doesn’t require much: ensure it has easy access (not being blocked by a garbage can or anything else), that the gauge shows adequate pressure, and that it has no visible signs of wear and tear.
  • Clean kitchen sink disposal. Duffy Home Solutions finds the best all-around solution seems to be vinegar ice cubes. Put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze, then run the ice cubes through the disposal. It freshens it, but as a bonus, ice sharpens the blades.  This is a helpful task to do at the change of each season.
  • Clean range hood filters.   Your indoor kitchen will be used a lot more over the long winter evenings. Duffy Home Solutions suggests simply using a degreaser from an auto parts store mixed with hot water. Let the filter sit for a few minutes, rinse it off, and you’re good to go.
  • Run water and flush toilets in unused spaces. This mostly applies to guest bathrooms, or any other sinks/water sources you don’t use on a regular basis. The idea is to prevent grime or any other kind of build up. Regularly running a little bit of water through will prevent this.
  • Check water softener, add salt if needed. For homes with wells, you shouldn’t need to add salt every month, but better to check anyway, as it only takes about 5 seconds.
  • Test the pressure relief valve on your water heater. This will prevent mineral and corrosion buildup, which safeguards against leaks. It will also help your heater run more efficiently.
  • Vacuum the coils in the refrigerator. The fridge can use up to 15 percent of your home’s total power, so you want it running as efficiently as possible. Over time, the coils get dirty and your fridge requires more juice. You can save up to $100 a year by doing this, and it’s not at all a difficult task.
  • Check trees for interference with electric lines. Have professionally trimmed if necessary.
  • Inspect roofing for damage, leaks, etc. A simple inspection of your roof by an expert before the snow and ice arrive will give you great peace of mind this winter!


For assistance with these or any other home maintenance or repair tasks contact us.

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