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Landlord’s Ultimate Guide to Winterizing


Winter is coming, so as landlords, it’s time to winterize each rental property to ensure the potential for property damage is minimized. When proper precautions are taken, money is saved and hassles diverted. Proactive preparations for winter ensure the longevity of your property, increase tenant comfort, and minimize the potential for unsafe property conditions.

Some of the reasons property owners take time to winterize

  • Avoid the nuisance of a frozen pipe bursting
  • Decrease the possibility of a heater induced fire
  • Sidestep the likelihood of rodent infestation
  • Ensure the safety of their tenants

Proactive preparation of your rental property for winter

Cost-effective, practical preparation pays off in the long run. Here is a guide to assist you when winterizing your rental property.

1. Decrease the possibility of someone falling on your property. Before winter hits, repair any walkways, driveways, and stairs to decrease the likelihood of someone tripping and falling on your property.

a. Cracks in concrete can be unexpected, particularly if there is a light snow masking them.
b. Shore up your concrete with freshly poured walkways to ensure safety.

2. These are the recommendations we communicate with all of our occupants:

a. Properly winterize automatic sprinkler system, if applicable.
b. Make sure all exterior faucets are turned off completely and do not leak.
c. Unhook all outdoor water hoses from water faucets.
d. Protect outside faucet with a styrofoam faucet cover ($2 at your local hardware store).
e. Keep heaters on and set to a minimum of 60 degrees.
f. If needed, keep sink cabinet doors open in kitchen and bathroom areas.

3. Prevent costly damage and time-consuming cleanup projects from frozen pipes. Water damage can cost thousands of dollars and take a lot of time to fix. Take precautions to prevent pipes from bursting.

a. Turn off outdoor water faucets completely and cover them.
b. Apply caulk to any cracks or holes in your home exterior near water pipes.
c. Wrap exterior pipes that are exposed with insulation.

4. Check up on your furnace’s efficiency. Have your furnace serviced annually prior to winter to verify all its parts are fully functional and ready to go.

a. Be sure to change furnace filters monthly, and encourage tenants not to store items near the furnace.
b. Keep air ducts and return vents clear so they are most efficient year-round

5. Fireplace preparation for winter. Wood-burning fireplaces should be cleaned to remove debris.

a. Ensure fire safety by installing fireplace doors to keep embers from floating out of the fireplace.
b. Instruct tenants on fireplace use if necessary.

6. Keep rodents and other pests away from your investment property. Seal openings rodents could fit through to access your home.

a. Encourage tenants to store food away from where a mouse could access it.
b. Remove trash from your home regularly so you don’t attract mice.
c. Set traps in the garage or other likely areas mice may try to enter your property.

7. Increase insulation before winter hits. Add insulation to the attic to beef up comfort and decrease utility bills.

a. Keeping your investment property warm in general will aid in preventing problems like burst pipes and water damage.

8. If your rental property is vacant in the winter, set the thermostat to keep it warm.

a. Prevent problems when your investment home is empty by setting the thermostat to at least 55 degrees.
b. Ask tenants to leave the temperature at a minimum of 55 degrees if they are taking vacation time during the winter months.

9. Prepare your home exterior for winter.

a. Exterior preparation for winter includes cleaning out your rental property’s gutters.
b. Throughout the winter, keep walkways and driveway clear.

10. Have your roof inspected. The integrity of your roof must be prepared for what could be heavy snow this winter. When snow melts, a leaky roof can cause indoor molding and the need to paint your ceiling.

a. Have your roof inspected prior to winter.
b. Verify there are no needed repairs or a needed roof replacement.

Courteous notice

As respectful landlords, be sure to give proper notice to your tenants when you need to do maintenance and repairs.

Property Management Services for Owners

Get help managing your property the right way with the experienced professionals at McGraw REALTORS®. Above and beyond service has been experienced by satisfied renters and property owners for over 75 years. See our management services or call our office and tell us what you need.

Check out current rental listings

If at this time in your life renting makes more sense than buying, we’re here for you. See our rental listings and call McGraw Property Management. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll show you properties that best fit your needs.

Posted by: Chris Swift on November 8, 2018