Frigid temperatures are bad for any rental property, but this can be especially bad for vacant properties during the cold parts of any year. If you have a rental property that’s going to be sitting empty, even if just for a bit, it’s wise to winterize it. If temperatures drop and the property isn’t ready, you could end up with burst pipes, a leaking roof, or any number of cold-weather headaches. Read on if you want to know how to properly winterize a vacant rental property so that it can go through a winter’s deep freeze.
Leave the Heat On
The first step to winterize your rental property is to leave the heat on. You might want to turn it off so that you can save some money from utilities. However, it will cost you more to have to repair a flooded home from burst pipes because there was no heating in the rental. You don’t need to leave the heat on full blast, but it should be consistently warm enough on the inside of the house to help keep your pipes from icing over.
Drain and Insulate Your Pipes
Frozen pipes can be very challenging to deal with; so, the wise thing to do before you leave them vacant in cold temperatures is to drain them and insulate them properly. Start by draining and detaching any garden hoses on the outside, and wrap your exterior hose bibs with insulation. Make sure you drain out your sprinkler system so that you can prevent any potential leaks underground. Inside the house, wrap any exposed pipes – especially those in the basement or attic – with insulation or spray with foam.
Clean Gutters and Inspect the Roof
Checking your gutters and your roof is a key step in preparing your vacant rental property for the cold season. Plumbing may cause a lot of cold-weather issues, but so do the gutters and roof of your rental property. Clogged gutters or missing shingles can cause water to seep into the attic and walls and gather around the house’s foundation. When it seeps in and freezes, it will expand and destroy the structure. That’s why it’s wise to have your gutters cleaned and drained properly, and your roof made weather-tight.
Trim Trees & Shrubs
To end, one last task you should do to winterize your vacant rental property is to trim back any tree branches or shrubs that are touching or overhanging the house. Also, don’t forget to move any woodpiles or other objects touching the house. If there are any branches too close to the house, these can cause possible clogging of your gutters with leaves or the breaking or falling off branches on the house during a storm. Woodpiles are known to be spots for pests and insects. When it gets too cold, however, they will start moving indoors. You definitely don’t want to have to deal with a broken window, a damaged roof, or a pest infestation when in freezing temperatures. As if that’s not bad enough, your own insurance company could use these issues to deny any claim you file.
Winterizing a vacant rental property can be a time-consuming but necessary task. But you don’t have to do it alone. At Real Property Management Chicago Group, we help rental property owners like you keep their rentals ready for whatever Mother Nature may bring. To learn more, talk with one of our Skokie property managers by calling 312-265-0660.
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