How To Winterize Your Rental Property

How to winterize your rental property because just one cold spell could result in sudden tenant calls or problems with pipes.

By Phil Schaller

It’s that time of the year again. Winter will bring cold and wet weather and it’s critical to prepare your rental for the elements. Just one cold spell can wreak havoc on your pipes, gutters, roof, and unfortunately more. But have no fear, we are here to help! The checklist below is a must-do heading into winter.

While the items listed below will set your property up well for the months ahead, it is not exhaustive. The koi pond in the front yard will require some attention, although we don’t have it listed below (maybe a future blog post).

How to winterize your rental property

  1. Blow the irrigation system. This will require a landscaping company to come out to clear your systems, but it’s quick and not very expensive.
  2. Detach your hose(s) and cover the spigots. Water left in the hose/spout can cause pipes to crack and the spouts to malfunction (not to mention the hose as well).
  3. Caulk any cracks or holes around your windows. Exterior silicone caulk is the way to go here. It’s water-resistant and very durable.
  4. Clear the gutters. With more precipitation in the winter months, your gutters need to function as well as possible. All those needles, leaves, pinecones, etc. clog things up.
  5. Clean up the roof and siding. If you notice any moss build-up (common in the PNW) it’s best to scrape it to prevent further build-up. We don’t recommend hopping on the roof yourself, hire someone who has the proper equipment.
  6. Bring in outdoor furniture and grills. If your furniture sits outside all winter in the elements, you’ll be buying new furniture before you know it.
  7. Insulate water supply pipes. Focus on pipes that aren’t kept warm by insulation or heating – pipes in the attic, crawl spaces, garage. Foam pipe covers work well and are easy to install.
  8. Install draft guards and weather stripping to necessary doors. Draft guards are inexpensive and slide onto the bottom of a door.
  9. Replace the furnace filters. This is important to do regularly but especially important heading into winter. You and your tenants will want the furnace working as well as possible.
  10. Adjust the thermostat. If you’re turning over a unit or a single family home, make sure you don’t let the temperature dip below 50 degrees. Damage to uninsulated pipes can ensue if it gets too cold.

While there’s a decent to-do list above, if you winterize your rental property (or any property for that matter) it will pay dividends in the long run. On top of that, these tasks aren’t very time-consuming or expensive.

Any questions for us, please feel free to reach out anytime. Happy winterizing!

About the author:

Phil Schaller is an experienced landlord and the founder/CEO of RentalRiff – an alternative service to traditional property management that provides ongoing oversight and upkeep of rental properties, while serving as the main point of contact for tenants. You can reach him at 541-600-3200. Maintenance and repair costs are included and property specialists are licensed/insured. Phil is a Pacific Northwest native, father of two, and fly-fishing addict.

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