Proper maintenance is key to saving money as a rental property owner. You’ll avoid major expenses if you take essential steps to keep your properties in good condition.
That involves adjusting your maintenance plan for the season. Winter hazards can cause a lot of damage, from injuries from slip and fall accidents to burst pipes, if you don’t prepare accordingly.
Make a point of handling these tasks early. The long-term benefits of doing so are well-worth the minimal time and money they involve.
Most property owners are familiar with common ways cold temperatures can damage a building. For instance, when water freezes, it expands. Frozen water in your plumbing system can exert significant pressure on your pipes. They may burst as a result. This could leave you with expensive water damage repair and mold remediation bills.
That’s the kind of problem you might be ready for in winter. However, it also important to not overlook other risks during this season.
A rodent infestation is one issue you might not anticipate having to deal with. The problem is, mice and rats look for shelter from the cold during winter. They target buildings they can get inside of. If you haven’t repaired damage to any of your properties, they may find their way inside.
This is why following a winterization checklist is crucial. Completing essential steps helps you avoid all the problems winter can bring.
Start with Safety
Make sure your properties are in winter-ready condition early. Are any walkways or stairwells damaged? Repair them now.
Check your exterior lighting as well. Long winter nights combined with hidden icy patches can render a property dangerous. Make upgrades to your lighting if necessary.
Protect Your Pipes
Guarding against burst pipes is fairly simple. Start by insulating any and all exposed piping.
If there are areas of your property where you don’t expect to use water or plumbing fixtures during winter, drain all water from the relevant pipes and fixtures. In areas where you are using water, let the faucets drip a little bit of lukewarm water on particularly cold days. Allowing some warm water to flow through the pipes keeps them from freezing.
It’s also important to keep outdoor faucets covered and shut off during winter. While covering them, walk around the building to look for cracks or holes in the foundation. Caulk any you find close to pipes.
Keep Rodents Out
While inspecting the areas around pipes is essential, it’s also a good idea to take note of any cracks or holes you find while walking around the building. Caulking them all helps keep rodents out.
Make sure tenants know to store food properly during the cold months. As a property owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure garbage is properly stored and disposed of. Be vigilant about keeping food scraps off your properties.
It’s a safe bet that tenants will run the heating often during winter. Although this is understandable, it can drive up your energy bills, and put the furnace through a lot of wear and tear. This reduces the heating system’s lifespan.
You can prevent excessive heating usage by applying caulk and weather-stripping to windows and doors. Be sure to repair any other cracks and holes you find in your buildings as well.
Are any units in your buildings unoccupied? If so, set the thermostat in those units to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (but no lower) for the duration of the season.
Manage Winter Weather
Having de-icing supplies available at all times is crucial during winter. You want to remove snow and ice as soon as possible when it accumulates.
Keep yourself safe while doing so. Always check for icy patches when working, wear proper winter attire, take breaks when necessary, and gauge the weight of the snow before you shovel it. Ideally, you want to form piles of equal size and weight.
Winter doesn’t need to do a number on your rental properties. You’ll keep costs low (and tenants safe) by taking these steps ahead of time. Luckily, following this type of guide makes the process very easy.