Ah, winter. There’s a nip in the air, frost on the ground and...well, a lot of hazards for your properties. Maybe you didn’t start gearing up for ol’ Jack Frost as early as you wanted to, but better late than never!
There’s a lot of minor home maintenance to be aware of during this time of year and as a landlord you want to start to look after some of these projects. Your tenants need to have a safe, warm place to hibernate, and winterizing your home is too important to ignore. Avoid the headache of costly post-winter repairs by following this home maintenance checklist!
Heating System Check
If you’re not working with an installation company for your maintenance, start by checking the water heater. Make sure it’s insulated well and that flammable materials are away from the unit. For your heating unit, check for cracks in the gas line, proper flame and oxygen flow, and change out your filters.
Inspect the Roof
The last thing you want for your tenants is a roof that caves in under a snowfall or leaks when everything melts. Repair loose or missing shingles and make sure everything is good-to-go in terms of strength and insulation. Remember to look at facia and sophets as well as roof valleys for debris. These are all weak points for moisture and animal entry into houses!
Caulk Doors and Windows
Go around the exterior doors and windows of your property and check for air leaks. When you find them, use caulk, expanding foam or replace the frame to seal the leak. It’ll save you on the energy bill and keep your tenants snuggly and warm inside. A little caulk here and there is a big way to make a tenant happy especially on houses where you may have completed a renovation 5+ years in the past.
Clean the Gutters
No, it’s not fun. But getting all of those fall leaves out of the way will avoid spillovers that can damage the house and making walking hazardous for your renters. Another huge problem for guttering is when clogged up and cluttered gutters push water flow back under shingles. This can lead to slow, yet long-term damage to your property.
Turn off Exterior Faucets
Trust us, you really don’t want pipes to burst. Have garden hoses disconnected and outdoors faucets winterized if not turned off all together. Remind your tenants to get outside and handle these tasks for you just simply to protect their belongings from burst pipes. Water is important and in the winter it can damage a property faster than any other problem.
Insulate Indoor Pipes
Your priority should be on insulating the pipes closest to the exterior of the property (though they shouldn’t be in an exterior wall, they may be in older properties). You can get fitted insulation that wraps around virtually any pipe. It’s best to take care of insulation before winter hits, but if you haven’t, encourage your renters to open cabinet doors where there are pipes to let warm air in, or even let the faucet trickle during particularly cold times to keep the water moving.
Make sure there’s plenty of insulation in the attic (and basement, should you have one). It will keep heat in the home, thus making your heating system more efficient and saving on energy bills in the long run.
Winterizing your property - or more importantly, making sure a tenant is winterizing and aware of their responsibility, will ensure that your post-winter home maintenance costs are kept down. Being responsible with property management and keeping it winter-ready will mean your renters can relax in the warm and enjoy the roof over their heads.
How do you prepare your property for winter? Let us know in the comments.
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