Better Landlording

(Blog and Educational Content)

September 21, 2015

Prepare Your Property for Icy Winter Weather

by Sara | Share this article

Prepare Your Property for Icy Winter Weather

Ensuring that the property is prepared for colder temperatures and in good working order can save a landlord a ton of money in unneeded repairs and prevent potentially dangerous situation from happening during the winter months.

Many property maintenance tasks can be done anytime during the year, but fall is an especially good time to take a look at both indoor and outdoor tasks when the outdoor temperatures cool down to a more comfortable level once the heat of summer has past.

Heating

A furnace that dies on a dead-cold day is a scenario most people would rather avoid. Indoors, the most important thing to ensure during fall months is that the property’s heating system works well. Whatever method your home uses for heating and cooling, whether through a forced air system or hot water heating, a professional inspection will prevent later fallouts and keep energy costs as low as possible.

Most homes require clean air filters in order to heat properly, so have a professional check the air filters and ensure that airflow isn’t blocked. Another essential fall maintenance item that anyone can do is to clean and adjust thermostats. Dust can accumulate inside and affect the way it operates. Make sure the property is recording accurate temperatures and that the thermostat is performing correctly. It’s important to check the temperature and calibrate the thermometer if it’s off.

Fireplaces

For properties with fireplaces, having a professional ensure the safety of the fireplace will do much to prevent home fires, fire-related hazards, and carbon monoxide development. The Chimney Safety Institute of America lists certified chimney sweeps who comply with official standards for annual inspections. Whether your fireplace is wood-burning or electrical, remove debris from the inside. For an electrical fireplace, have a professional ensure that electrical wires and cords are working properly.

While you’re at it, make sure to change batteries in smoke alarms. Two-thirds of fire-related deaths occur in homes that didn’t have working smoke alarms. Make sure your tenants are safe by keeping those in good working order.

Clothes Dryer

If you have laundry machines installed in your rental units, make sure to clean out the exhaust hose on clothes dryers. An exhaust hose allows hot air to escape from the dryer. If lint and debris build up inside of it, the hose can become a fire hazard.

Plumbing

Checking plumbing for leaks is important during the winter time. Wrap exposed plumbing in electrical tape. You can also ensure that a home’s hot water tank doesn’t freeze by wrapping it in a blanket to insulate it.

Faucets and Hoses

Before winter sets in, make sure to shut off outdoor faucets and drain hoses. It’s smart to drain all items that hold water outdoors to prevent freezing and prevent having to replace or repair them later on. If the property has a sprinkler system, this will need to be drained as well, which is typically best left to a professional.

Caulking

Caulking wards off moisture and outside air from seeping into buildings. It’s important to check caulk for cracking, which indicate that new caulk is needed. The best time to re-caulk is before freezing temperatures come — ideally when the weather is above 45 degrees.

Gutters

Although most people don’t enjoy making time for gutter cleaning, the results will be well worth the effort and the long climb up the ladder. To effectively clean gutters, debris can be scooped out into a bucket or forced out with a hose. Removing leaf and debris build-up will keep the gutter flow free and prevent build-up or cascading flow that could damage siding.

Chimney

Getting rid of build-up in the chimney will prevent potential hazards via carbon monoxide poisoning or fires. This should be done once a year, and fall is the time to do this. The flue should be inspected for foreign objects (animals, nests, debris, etc.) that could become a potential hazard.

Outdoor Lighting

Make sure any outdoor wiring is covered and working properly. Being exposed to weather can cause cracks in the covering. Make sure the walkways are well-lit. A lighted path will prevent homeowner slips and falls due to ice in the wintertime.

These small to-do items will ensure a safe, warm transition from fall into winter, and peace of mind for you and your residents.

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