Prepping Your Rental Unit for Cooler Weather
Renters Warehouse Blog
You might not have noticed, but the weather is changing. The mornings are getting colder, and no matter how much you try to deny it, there’s no escaping the fact that winter is coming.
You may think, “I don’t have time to worry about this right now! There are too many other things on my plate!” As a landlord, that’s understandable. But we’re here to tell you that it is worth taking time before the first snowfall hits to ensure your rental unit is ready for winter.
Prepping your rental units for cooler weather isn’t just about making sure there are enough blankets on hand for your furnished rentals or vacation units, it’s about ensuring that your properties are fully prepared for what comes with the seasons. If you don’t want to find yourself scrambling to get your properties ready for winter, it is time to start prepping now!
Below, we’ve outlined some of the most important things to consider when preparing your rental units for winter. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it should give you a good idea of what must be done before those first flakes start falling.
Why Is It Important to Prepare Your Unit for Cooler Weather?
Before delving into how to prep your rental unit for cooler weather, let’s start by looking at why it is so important.
If you’re a landlord, you know how crucial it is to keep your rental units in tip-top shape. It’s not just about keeping your tenants happy but also about making sure the place doesn’t become neglected or damaged during one of the harshest seasons. One of the best ways to ensure that doesn’t happen is to prep your rental unit for cooler weather.
Why it is important to prepare your rental unit for cooler weather:
- It will help keep your rental unit in good shape all year long
- It will make it easier to keep up with repairs and maintenance
- It can save you money in the long run
- It will keep your current occupants happier
- It will make your rental unit more attractive to potential future tenants
- It can even add value to your property
The winter season isn’t the only time you should prep your rental! Read this article on How to Ready Your Rental for Weather Changes.
How to Prep Your Unit for Cooler Weather
As winter approaches, your tenants will likely spend more time inside their homes and apartments. Your job as a landlord is to ensure your property is ready to keep them comfortable.
Here’s how to prepare your rental unit for cooler weather:
Check the Heater
The last thing you want is to have your tenants stuck in a cold house in the middle of winter. That’s why it is important to check the maintenance of your heater before the weather gets too cold.
It’s easy to forget that a little bit of dust or dirt can clog up your heating system and cause it to break down. The first thing to do is clean out the buildup of dust and other debris from around the vents. This will help the heater work more efficiently by allowing more air to flow through it. Then, make sure that they’re not blocked by furniture or other items, and clear them out if necessary. This will prevent mold from growing inside and spreading throughout your property. Mold can cause health problems, so it’s best to get rid of it before any damage occurs.
You may also want to consider replacing your unit’s air filters if they’re getting old. This will ensure that your heating system runs smoothly and efficiently by preventing dust and debris from entering the vents.
It’s always best to get a professional to do the final inspection on your heating system and invest money into getting it professionally maintained before winter hits.
Clear the Gutters
Gutters are an important part of a home. They help prevent excess water from getting into the walls and causing damage. However, when they get clogged with leaves and other debris, they can actually start to work against you. Clogged gutters can prevent water from draining away. They can fill with water, which can freeze during the colder months, so it’s worth ensuring that they are cleaned out.
Leaves can build up in your gutters after only a few months. It is important to remove them quickly and thoroughly. If you’d like to go the DIY route, one of the best way to do this is by using a leaf blower on a low setting to blow them out of the gutter system. If you don’t have access to a leaf blower, use a rake or hoe instead (but be careful not to damage your eaves). Professionals can also be hired and will check to make sure the flow of your gutters is efficient.
Once all the leaves are removed from your gutter system, use a hose attachment to spray down all sides of each gutter. This will help loosen any built-up gunk that might still be present and ensure everything is clean and ready for winter.
Inspect the Roof
The roof is one of the most important parts of any home or apartment. It protects against water damage and keeps out pests. A well-maintained roof will keep your tenants safe in case of storms or other natural disasters.
During an inspection, look at the shingles and see if they’re in good condition. If they’re cracked or damaged in any way, you’ll want to replace them before winter hits. You can also inspect the gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re still working properly. If not, it’s time to install some new ones.
It’s also a good idea to check your roof for any holes or leaks. This will help you to prevent rainwater from into the attic, causing damage over time. This can lead to mold growth and other serious issues, so you’ll want to have it inspected regularly.
Be sure to inspect all areas around vents, chimneys, and pipes for cracks or holes that could lead to water damage inside your property. These holes could also allow pests like bugs, rats, or mice into your rental if left unchecked for too long.
Planning to remodel during winter? Check this article to see what you should know about winter remodeling.
Seal the Cracks
Most landlords know that drafty windows, doors, and other openings are a major source of heat loss during the winter. But did you know they can be just as big of a problem when it is hot? This is especially true in older buildings where the weatherstripping may be worn out or missing altogether.
To prevent heat from escaping through these cracks, it’s important to apply weatherstripping around any doors and windows in your rental units. Though it may seem unnecessary at first glance, weatherstripping will save you money by reducing energy costs throughout the year.
Watch Your Pipes
Pipes are particularly susceptible to freezing when the temperature dips. So, it is important to keep an eye on them and make sure they are properly maintained.
First, check for leaks in your pipes that might cause them to freeze faster than normal. If there are leaks, fix them and consider putting insulation around the pipes themselves to keep them warm. Insulating your pipes will help prevent them from freezing, leading to burst pipes and expensive repairs. You can buy pipe insulation at most hardware stores. It may also be worthwhile investing in an inexpensive heat tape that can be wrapped around water pipes. This way, no one has to worry about emergency call-outs for a burst pipe.
Prepare Your Sprinklers
Sprinkler systems can be finicky things, especially when they’re not used regularly. They can also be expensive to repair if something goes wrong. So, it’s important for you, or your tenants, to prepare the sprinklers for the winter by inspecting them and making any necessary repairs.
Winterizing the sprinkler system is an easy task that you or your tenants can complete in just a few minutes. If you have a traditional sprinkler system—not an underground one—you can drain it by turning off the water supply at the main valve, then opening all of the valves in the system. Once all of the water has drained out, close up each valve again.
If you have an underground sprinkler system, you may want to call in a professional. Underground systems tend to be more complicated than traditional ones. If something goes wrong during the winter months, there could be serious consequences such as flooding or frozen pipes.
After draining the system, you will want to do some maintenance. You can clean the heads and nozzles with a garden hose, then inspect them for damage or clogs. If there is any debris in the system, remove it by cleaning out your filters.
You should also check the water pressure and make sure it is within a safe range. If your system is not working properly or you have any questions about what to do, contact a professional.
Thinking whether to do the job on your own or contact a professional? Read Should You DIY Your Property Maintenance and Repairs?
Look for Cracks in the Wall
When you’re prepping your rental unit for cooler weather, one of the most important things to look for are cracks in the wall. It’s easy to forget about the walls when you’re focusing on the rest of your rental.
Cracks in the walls can cause moisture damage, which means you could end up with mold and mildew problems, not to mention the potential water damage that may require an insurance claim to remedy.
If you find cracks in your rental unit walls, you’ll want to take action immediately. The best thing to do is fill the crack with caulk or a spray foam insulation product while you contact a professional to ask what next steps you’ll want to take. This is one issue you certainly want to have handled by an expert.
Add Exterior Wall Insulation
Your exterior walls are the number one way heat escapes a house. So adding exterior wall insulation is a great way to stop that from happening. If you don’t have any in place, it will cost you more money later. Adding exterior wall insulation can help tenants to save on their energy bills, something they will certainly appreciate!
Adding exterior wall insulation will not only keep your tenants cozy and comfortable, but it will also help improve their indoor air quality by reducing the amount of moisture that gets into their home. This can help reduce mold growth and other problems resulting from excess moisture.
You can install exterior wall insulation yourself. But if you want to make sure it is done right, hire a professional contractor to do it for you. They will provide you with information on what type of insulation works best for your home and how much it will cost.
Want to know which DIY repairs should you handle yourself? Read this helpful article: What You Can and Can’t Fix Yourself
Clean the Yard
Cleaning the yard is an important task before fall. Once the growing season is over and plants and trees start to die off, the foliage left behind can be unsightly come winter. Not only that, but it can also make caring for your property in the winter months more challenging. This is another task that could fall to your tenant, depending on whether it’s outlined in your rental agreement.
Pruning trees, however, is usually the landlord’s responsibility. You should consider your tenant’s safety and trim back any overhanging branches that could potentially fall on the roof or in the yard. If you have trees near your property, prune them, so they don’t block any windows or vents, and to help keep leaves out of the gutters.
In addition to making sure that your yard is clear of these obstructions, you should also consider removing any dead plants or limbs from your yard so that they don't attract pests. Pruning can help to discourage pests like termites, ants, and insects from entering your home. It can also help with drainage problems if things get too wet on snowy days.
Inspect Your Exterior
As the weather gets colder, it’s important to inspect the exterior for trip and fall hazards. It’s easy to forget about these dangers, but they can cause serious injuries.
If a tenant trips on a pothole or uneven ground that’s filled with water and turned into an ice rink, they could become seriously injured. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you inspect your property for these hazards and clear them if necessary.
Start by checking your walkways and driveways. If you find that the surface is uneven or cracked, it might be time to repair it. You can use asphalt or concrete patching materials to fill in any holes and cracks.
If you have any loose gravel or dirt on your property, be sure to clear it. You should also remove any dead leaves, sticks, or other debris that might cause a tripping hazard.
Lastly, you should make sure that your property’s exterior is well-lit. If any of the bulbs are burned out, be sure to replace them.
Check Safety Alarms
Safety alarms are essential to ensuring your tenants feel safe and secure in their homes. So, you should make sure they're checked and working before the cold weather hits.
The first thing you should do is make sure that your property has all of the necessary safety alarms in place: fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. If you have an older property, you may need to upgrade or replace them. If you have a newer property, it is a good idea to check that all your safety alarms are fully charged and functioning.
Plan for Snow Removal
Snow removal is one of the most important things you can do to keep your rental unit running smoothly. But it is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about prepping your unit for cooler weather. Trust us, planning for snow removal is important!
If you plan to do snow removal yourself, then start by ensuring you have everything you need to clear out the snow from your rental unit. Or better yet, arrange for someone to come by and plow your driveway when it snows. This is one of those gray areas, but it should also be stated in your rental agreement whether snow removal is your responsibility or your tenant’s responsibility. Just keep in mind that in some states, landlords are required to reimburse tenants for tasks like snow removal or lawn maintenance.
The changing seasons will bring a whole new set of challenges for you and your tenants. If you want to keep your property in good shape and avoid big problems down the road, take the time now to prepare your property for cooler weather.
With proper planning and preparation, you can keep your property safe and secure for the autumn and winter seasons. You’ll also save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run.
Wanting to get ahead of the seasonal rush, hiring a property management company is the best way to keep things running smoothly. Here at Renter's Warehouse, we've got you covered. Check out our 24/7 Hassle Free Property Management today!
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