Follow these six simple steps to protect your rental property this winter and avoid costly maintenance issues. With winter knocking on our door here in North Carolina and other parts of the U.S., now is a good time to put together and implement a plan to winterize your rental properties. This is an important step whether your rental units are occupied or vacant.
Here at Red Door Company, our clients don’t have to go it alone. Winterizing rental homes is one of the many professional property management services we offer our clients in the Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham North Carolina area. Our clients rest easy knowing that our property management expertise and experienced team of vendors are at their disposal. We always take the necessary steps to protect rental properties during winter and throughout the year.
Winterizing Rental Property Plan
Start by developing a plan for dealing with the elements of winter. Bringing your tenants on board with this plan is vital to its success. Talk to tenants and have them keep an eye out for any problems (e.g., water leaks, heat not running properly, noises from rodents nesting in attic or crawlspace, etc.a), which could become major issues if not dealt with before the onset of winter. In many cases, it will be up to your property managers to convey this plan to your tenants. You can also ask your property management company to put these responsibilities directly in your lease documents.
Inspect Furnace and Duct Work
Schedule an appointment to have an HVAC professional come and inspect your furnace and clean the duct work at your rental property. We do this for our clients in the fall before winter arrives in full. If you have a maintenance service plan, this yearly checkup may be covered under your plan. Also, make sure to remind your tenants of their responsibility to replace dirty furnace filters with new ones.
Close Off Openings
Plug any holes in gables and crawlspaces to prevent pests from moving in over the winter. If you allow animals access to your rental home, you are inviting more than just minor nuisances such as odors and noise. You are also opening the door to significant wood damage and possibly catastrophic damage from an electrical fire caused by an animal chewing through wires.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
When temperatures drop to very low levels in winter, it is vital to take simple steps to prevent frozen pipes. In the event a pipe does freeze, there are smart steps to follow to thaw frozen pipes which help to avoid pipes from bursting. At Red Door Company, we ensure our clients’ tenants understand the necessary measures to prevent frozen pipes. This is also information which should also be included in the winterizing rental property plan. When your rental unit is vacant, your property management company will take the needed actions to ensure your pipes are protected from freezing temperatures.
Minimize Risk of Chimney Fires
For rental properties with fireplaces, make sure you include an annual chimney sweeping to protect your rental property in winter. A chimney sweep inspects your chimney for damage and removes soot, blockages and built-up creosote in your chimney. Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney or liner as a result of burning wood. It only takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a life-threatening chimney fire.
Winterizing Vacant Rental Properties
When your rental unit is vacant, there are other steps you can take to protect it and head off any future maintenance issues. Start by having a contractor inspect your home for gaps in doors or windows and then make repairs or fill those gaps with insulation. Shut off your water main to help prevent frozen water pipes. Make sure your thermostat is set to a temperature that conserves energy, protects against the elements and keeps the inside comfortable enough when showing the home to potential tenants. Having a team like Red Door Company by your side will ensure you don’t have to worry about your vacant rental property being ignored during winter. We handle all of the above steps and more for our clients to protect their vacant rental units throughout the year.
Even though our winters in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill area of North Carolina are not as harsh as many other parts of the country, winterizing homes is not something that should be taken lightly. Skipping the steps mentioned above could easily lead to disastrous results. At Red Door Company, we gladly help landlords, like you, protect your investment. It is our job to assist our clients in heading off costly maintenance issues by taking preventive measures to protect their rental properties during winter and the rest of the year. Contact us to learn more about the services we offer landlords.