Winterizing Your Rental Property | Helpful Tips For Landlords and Renters

Boulder Winter Flatirons  Even though the cold season has been slow to arrive this year, there is no doubt that a Colorado winter is sure to happen sooner or later. If the weather forecast is to be believed, it is likely to happen sooner rather than later! When it does, you don’t want to discover that your home or apartment wasn’t ready for the frozen flakes and sub-zero temperatures. Below are a few tips for winterizing your rental property and whether you are an owner or a renter, using these tips could save you a lot of unnecessary money and shivering down the road.

In order to avoid a lengthy to-do list, the following information is presented with the fitting acronym of SNOW-Seal, Note, Outside, and Windows.

Seal: The first step to winterizing your rental unit is to seal any holes, cracks, or crumbling mortar. A good way to find these often hidden nooks and crannies is to wait for a windy day and then carefully comb through your property in search of any drafty spots.

Key areas to check include walls, window sills, wood trimming, siding, and near electrical outlets and doors. With a thorough inspection, you’re bound to find a few places that need additional caulking or weatherstripping. Using caulk, tacky rope caulk, or weatherstrips in these areas will help keep the weather out and the warmth in.

Small gaps and holes can generally be fixed with a simple caulking, but larger problems may require a self-adhesive foam found in a local hardware store. If it’s an issue of a draft sneaking through beneath exterior doors, you can either replace the entire threshold or just insert a seal in the threshold. With any of these seal solutions, ensure that you try to find the exact fit- otherwise, get one size bigger and trim it down to the proper size. Trying to seal a spot with something too small will only lessen the problem, but not eliminate it.

Note: The next item in our SNOW tip list is “N,” for “Note”- and I don’t mean the type you used to write to your third-grade crush in elementary school. There are two primary components at play here- the heating system and the alarm system.

First and foremost, take note of your heating system before you need to rely on it through the cold winter days. Also check the pilot light and burners if your heating system runs on gas or oil. The filter should not only be checked at the onset to winter as well as checked (and if need be, changed) every month to avoid dust and pollutant build-up and increase efficiency.

Another item to note are the air ducts. The U.S. Department of Energy states that a centrally-heated home can lose as much as 60% of the heated air before it even reaches the vents if the ductwork is not done properly.  In other words, it pays to ensure that those air ducts are both well-connected and well-insulated. It’s also a good idea to vacuum them out every few years to allow easier air flow devoid of gunk and grime.

Another very important item to note for winterizing your rental is the alarm system. This includes both smoke alarms and monoxide detectors. The batteries should be checked twice a year to ensure they are working properly. Beyond the biannual check, however, it is vital that they are in working order for the winter months when homes and apartments are more likely to be enclosed with running heat and therefore more susceptible to fire dangers.

Outside: This section covers the importance of winterizing gutters, roofs, and outside faucets. A long autumn can cause a build-up of leaves and other windblown items into your gutters, but it is well worth clearing out before the snow demands the space. If snow falls on clogged gutters, it will hinder the water from effectively draining from the roof. This trapped water could potentially freeze, thaw, and re-freeze several times throughout the winter which can damage not only the gutters themselves, but also the attached roof.

In addition, pay close attention to any loose or damaged shingles because the weight of snow is bound to worsen their conditions. Finally, if applicable to your rental property, the chimney is another outside element to consider. Beyond the general sweep, it should be inspected as soon as possible in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.

A final word on the outside section concerns the curse words of winter, “frozen pipes.” It is important the note that your lease may hold you responsible for any damages that come as a result of frozen pipes, so taking caution in this matter is not only recommended- it may be required. Wrapping exposed pipes with heating tape or some sort of insulating cover is a good way to start. In addition, it is also important to drain any exterior spigots and pipes so as to avoid freezing excess water.

Windows: We have reached our final letter of SNOW, the “W.” Here it stands for the all-important windows element of winterizing. If storm windows are not an option, you can still enhance your heat efficiency by protecting them with plastic sheeting. This form of window insulation is installed from the inside with a double-stick tape. From there, use a hair dryer to affix the sheeting to the window. It may not be the prettiest addition to your home, but it will assuredly increase the heat efficiency by trapping the warm air inside.

If you can’t stand the look of it, another idea is to install curtains. An appealing drape will also provide a buffer between you and the winter outside.

A few last tricks of the trade to keep your rental property warm and cozy this winter is to consider your furniture placement. Take a stroll around your living space and ensure that no heat sources are blocked by furniture, which can prevent effective airflow. Aside from the fresh perspective that newly positioned chair can give, who knew that it could also keep you warmer.

Lastly, turn on the ceiling fan! By reversing the fans, you will actually push the warmer air downwards to a level where you can enjoy it.

Ultimately, the aim of the SNOW list is to keep you as warm as possible by being as heat efficient as possible. If you’re still in the market for a rental property or hoping to rent out your space this winter, consider using Housing Helpers to make this possible! Happy winterizing!   Housing Helpers can Rent Your Property quickly and provide a great way for you to manage your properties easily.   If you are considering long term rental property management or property management companies, check out Housing Helpers first as we are Colorado’s most popular rental locating service and we can recommend the right property management services for you!

About 

John Iannone is a real estate professional and self proclaimed property guru with over two decades of experience with investment properties, rentals, property management, corporate housing, multifamily strategic repositioning, acquisitions, consulting, and relocation services . Housing Helpers is a full service relocation company with offices in Boulder Colorado, and Denver, that provides integrated housing solutions including corporate housing, rental locating and apartment finding, real estate brokerage, investment property marketing, and relocation services.

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