Prep Your Rentals For Winter

Winter is coming

5 Property Maintenance Tips

Winter is coming upon us and it is important to prep your rentals for winter. If you own rental properties in areas where temperatures can reach sub-zero, you ought to make sure each unit is ready to take on the winter month and keep tenants comfortable.

In this article, we discuss 5 property maintenance tips to winterize your rental properties.

1. Check The Heating System

Getting a call from a tenant saying they have no heat is the last thing you want to deal with. Be pro-active and make sure that the heating system is functioning properly. Run a thermostat test run to make sure it is connected correctly.
Check the furnace and change any dirty filters. Clean the vents and ducts. Any debris or dirt that may have accumulated will prevent good airflow in the unit.

Starting in October, our maintenance team start property inspections to prep rentals for winter. Our team inspects the furnace at each property to lubricate moving parts as well as clean dirty parts. By identifying any potential issues, we reduce the risk of having a furnace breakdown during the winter months when tenants depend on it the most.

2. Prep the Pipes

When living in an area where temperatures go way below 32°F, you need to take extra measures to prep your rentals for winter. The last thing you want to deal with is a burst pipe in the middle of winter. It is very inconvenient for tenants and, can be a costly repair.

Drain any outdoor hoses such as garden hoses and store them inside. Make sure to insulate indoor plumbing with foam pipe insulation or similar protection on exposed water pipes. Pipes in the attic, the garage or crawl spaces are usually unheated and subject to burst when the weather reaches sub-zero temperatures.

According to the Red Cross, it is recommended to keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night, so pipes aren’t subject to major temperatures changes. If the rental property is going to be empty, then the Red Cross recommends leaving the thermostat set at 55°F minimum.

3. Clear Out Gutters

Once the fall season is over and most leaves have fallen from the trees, it is time to do a final clean up of the gutters around the rental properties. Leaves, twigs and any debris will build up in the gutters preventing them to drain properly. If the gutters are clogged, the water gets trapped and will freeze once the weather reaches sub-zero temperatures. When the ice starts clogging gutters, it can cause some serious damage like holes in the gutters. These conditions can also lead to ice dams and icicles and break off the gutters. Icicles, long thin pieces of ice formed by freezing or dripping water can be dangerous and potentially fall on tenants causing harm. With that in mind, you should definitely take time and prep your rentals for winter.

You can use ice melt products containing potassium chloride and sprinkle it along the top of the ice in the gutter. The deicer will slowly melt the ice away, allowing the gutters the drain again. Deicer products can be found in most hardware stores.

4. Inspect Doors and Windows

Another important step to prep your rentals for winter is by conducting a property inspection to identify any cracks. Be on the lookout for any cracks on the edge of the windows or any gaps around doors. Leaks in hallways, doors or windows can bring a freezing breeze throughout the unit and force tenants to use more heat. Air leaks can negatively impact utility bills so make sure you seal any cracks around the properties.
You can use a sealant like caulk and weather stripping to seal out cold air and fix the issue.

5. Inspect The Roof

Now is a good time to replace any broken or loose tiles. They can come loose during a winter storm and cause significant damage like mold or decay.
It is also a good idea to inspect the attic and spot any streaked or water-stained areas that you may not have noticed from the outside.
We highly recommend scheduling a roof inspection in the fall. A professional roofer can identify any potential issues and make recommendations to avoid any damage during the winter months.

These are some of the property maintenance tips that we recommend.
If you own rental properties in Rhode Island or Southeast Massachusetts and need help to prep your rentals for winter, feel free to contact us.
Stonelink Property Management provides expert property management and provides cost-effective property maintenance 24/7.

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