Winter Rental Maintenance Checklist

From checking gutters to protecting pipes, here is a guide to share with your tenants on what needs to be done as we enter the winter season.

Bundle up and hunker down this winter. But, before you go into hibernation, make sure your rentals are weather-ready.

1. Be Ready for the Cold

If your heating system hasn’t been checked yet be sure to follow these steps to ready your heater:

  1. Keep the heat on! Tools like smart thermostats can be a great way to monitor in-home climate remotely.
  2. Confirm vents are open and not blocked by furniture or clutter. Move obstacles that may be in the way of airflow from the vent.
  3. Service the furnace every couple of years.
  4. Check the fireplace(s) and service, if needed.
  5. Clean the chimney.

2. Roof and Gutter Maintenance

Proper insulation can protect the roof from the costly damages of ice dams. Ice dams form in freezing weather when the interior heats the roof and melts snow but then the water freezes back in the eaves. Melted water can then leak through the shingles and into the building causing water damage.

To avoid overflow and thawing damage in the gutters, make sure your roof's drainage systems are clean and clear. You can view details about the roof and gutter cleaning in our fall maintenance checklist here.

3. Don’t Lose the Heat

Seal up those air leaks with new weatherstripping wherever necessary, and keep the cold out and heat in.

  1. Open and close windows and doors, checking for gaps between the seal
  2. For windows with leaks, add weatherstripping. Here are some how-to videos on replacing various types of weatherstripping:
    a. How to replace wool pile weatherstripping
    b. How to install Peel-and-Stick Weather Stripping
    c. How to install Spring Bronze Weather Stripping

4. Check the Sump Pump

If you have a sump pump, test it by pouring a few gallons of water into the pit. It should turn on and water should pump out away from your property’s foundation.

5. Protect the Pipes

Insulate pipes exposed to freezing temperatures, such as pipes in the exterior, basement, or near windows and doors. Here is a video on How to Insulate Pipes. If a rental is vacant or the tenant is out of town, set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees to prevent pipe freezing.

6. Time for a New Coat?

Every few years you should put a new coat of wood oil on any unpainted cabinets to prevent damage and extend the cabinets life.

7. Don’t Get Stuck in the Cold!

If you live in areas that freeze be sure to be prepared and have these items on hand:

  1. Shovels
  2. Sidewalk salt
  3. Ice Scraper
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