Winter is upon us and it’s time to prepare your investment home for the cold weather. These are preventive measures you can take to lower your utility bills and protect your investment.
- Inspect the heating system. Turn the heater on to ensure that everything is working properly so you can get a service person out before it’s the middle of winter and you’re the 100th person in line to have their unit serviced on the coldest day of the year.
- Change furnace filters (or verify your tenant is). Furnace filters need to be changed often, and although it’s likely the tenant’s responsibility, they probably aren’t doing it. Therefore, it’s your responsibility as the landlord to verify that this is being done.
- Consider adding more insulation. While there is a cost involved, many homeowners add insulation to the attic in the fall to help with heating and cooling. Adding to the existing insulation can make a big difference in how well the rental property stays warm or cool.
- Clean ducts out. Every few years, it’s a smart idea to get the duct work of the rental property vacuumed out. Debris can build up, restricting the flow of air and putting strain on heating and cooling systems.
- Inspect doors and windows. Locate areas around doors and windows where heat is most likely to escape, such as loose caulking, torn weather stripping and gaps where doors and windows meet frames. Take the time to repair these areas now before the cold weather arrives, because it is easier and will save your tenants money on their heating bill.
- Inspect the roof. It’s much easier to repair or replace shingles in the non-winter months and that ensures your rental property roof will be strong enough to withstand even the biggest winter blizzard.
- Clear the rain gutters. It’s important that you don’t skip this task, because it could have a big impact on the rental property in the winter. Clear out leaves, sticks and other debris so the gutters can easily drain water from the roof. If the gutters are clogged, the roof could suffer damage from poor drainage, ice dams and melting snow. Ice dams, can cause melted water to back up and flow into your house.
- Turn off exterior water supply. Un-drained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Disconnect your garden hoses and drain the water from the spigots. Then turn off the water supply to the exterior spigots.
- Prune hedges, shrubs, and branches. Snow and ice can weigh down trees and shrubs with large surface areas and the weight can snap them easily causing damage to the tree and your home. Check the perimeter of the rental property for any plants that may benefit from a good trim. This practice also gives plants a better start in the spring, keeping them healthier.
- Shovel and ice melt. Don’t wait until the first snow or ice storm to hit to go purchase a shovel or ice melt. Purchase them now while it is available and less expensive. Choose eco-friendly ice melt over rock salt which can damage concrete.
- Take care of the A/C unit. If your rental property has an A/C system, fall is a great time to safeguard it for the winter. Clean out any debris and cover it up. Protecting the A/C unit will ensure that it will be ready next year after winter.
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