Tag Archives: Winterizing

Preparing Your Rental Before Winter

WinterThere’s no doubt that in most parts of the country, winter weather is just around the corner. As a Chico landlord, you may think of fall maintenance at your rental properties as raking leaves and tending to flower beds. However, fall is the best time to prepare your rental property for winter weather. Winters here in Northern California may not always be the worst, but still it is smart to take the time now to prepare for the upcoming winter season.

If you don’t deal with potential issues now, before they actually happen, you could end up with some significant repairs to work through that could have been prevented. Here are 13 ways that landlords can prepare their rental properties now for the coldest months of the year.

Clear rain gutters. It’s important that you don’t skip this fall task, because it could have a big impact on the rental property in the winter. Clear out leaves, sticks and other debris so the gutters can easily drain water from the roof. If the gutters are clogged, the roof could suffer damage from poor drainage and excessive rain.
Inspect the roof. It’s much easier to repair or replace shingles in the non-winter months and that ensures your rental property roof will be strong enough to withstand even the biggest winter storm.
Winterize yard sprinklers. If the rental property has a sprinkler system, you can empty them of any leftover water to ensure they don’t freeze and burst. Whether you do this yourself or hire a service, it’s a small task that could have a big impact if not done.
Seal sidewalk and driveway cracks. Water gets into cracks in sidewalks and driveways and expands them via freezing and thawing. What was a small crack in the fall can turn into an eyesore or a safety hazard by spring. Use a concrete sealer manufactured for just this purpose to stop the process.
Take care of the A/C unit. If your rental property has an A/C system, fall is a wonderful time to safeguard it for the winter. Clean out any debris and cover it up, especially if you live in an area of heavy snow or ice. Protecting the A/C unit will ensure that it will be ready to kick on next year when it is needed.

Inspect doors and windows. Locate areas around doors and windows where heat is most likely to escape, such as loose caulking, torn weather stripping and gaps where doors and windows meet frames. Take the time to repair these areas now before the cold weather arrives, because it is easier and will save your tenants money on their heating bill.
Wrap pipes before winter. Look for un-insulated pipes and wrap them with foam sleeves to ensure they won’t freeze when temperatures drop. Frozen pipes can easily burst, causing all kinds of water damage. By getting a jump on it, you can prevent this kind of catastrophe. Don’t forget to detach garden hoses from spigots and draining those lines as well.
Inspect the heating system. Turn the heater on to ensure that everything is working properly so you can get a service person out before it’s the middle of winter and the waiting list is very long. Also, replace the furnace filter and make sure vents open and close properly.
Arrange for a furnace tune-up. Many professional services offer winterizing tune ups for furnaces, and it’s always a good idea for a professional to perform maintenance on the furnace than it is to wait for it to break.
Check alarms. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are a critical part of keeping tenants safe, and it’s your duty to ensure that they are all in proper working order. Carbon monoxide detectors are particularly important in winter, as people tend to keep windows closed.
Clean ducts out. Every few years, it’s a smart idea to get the ductwork of the rental property vacuumed out. Debris can build up, restricting the flow of air and putting strain on heating and cooling systems.
Inspect the chimney. If your rental property has a fireplace and chimney, make sure it is taken care of before tenants use the fireplace for the first time. Arrange for a professional to inspect and clean the chimney, clearing it for debris and checking to make sure no other repairs are needed. A faulty chimney can become a health hazard as well as a safety and fire hazard.
Consider adding more insulation. While there is a cost involved, many home owners add insulation to the attic in the fall to help with heating and cooling. Adding to the existing insulation can make a big difference in how well the rental property stays warm or cool.

Sooner than you think, winter will be unleashing its full fury, and it is up to you to make sure your rental property is ready for the serious frost, rain and cold that is being predicted. The time to prepare is in the fall, well before the first winter storm arrives in your area. While your rental property may not be able to withstand every single winter-related disaster, by being prepared you can minimize the damage and problems, thus saving yourself time, stress and money.