19. December 2016 20:14
Now that the winter season is finally here, you must take some important steps to prevent the chilly weather from taking a toll on your rental home. This will not only protect your property from wear and tear, but also save you from unexpected expenses on roofing or plumbing repair. Winterizing your rental home will also allow your tenants to stay comfortably, ultimately reducing the vacancy rate and assuring a consistent income for you.
Given below are some of the tips that can help to get your rental home ready for winter:
- Tune up the heating system: It is important to check your furnace or HVAC system to make sure that it is working efficiently. Change the filter and clean it thoroughly so that the vents are not blocked. It will help to keep the rental home warm which, in turn, will lower your utility bills. A well-maintained HVAC system will also prevent accidental fires in your property.
- Ensure sufficient ventilation: As the doors and windows remain closed most of the time, fresh air does not enter the house. Lack of ventilation increases the risk of mold and dampness, particularly near the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. To avoid this, you can ask the tenants to keep the windows open during the day or consider using a dehumidifier to minimize the amount of moisture inside the home.
- Inspect the roof: Broken or cracked shingles in the roof should be identified and repaired beforehand. Also, check for any leaks in the ceiling as it may indicate blocked gutters. Ensure that the downspouts and gutters are completely clear of any debris or leaves so that the water does not accumulate on the roof.
- Check the pipes: Drain out water from all the indoor and outdoor pipes. Undrained water can freeze and lead to bursting of the pipe when the ice expands. If you do not have frost free faucets, you can consider insulating your exterior plumbing pipes. Disconnect the garden hoses and shut off the water supply. Ask your tenants to keep the heating system on with a minimum temperature of 50-55 °F when they are not at home. This will save the pipes from freezing and bursting due to subzero temperature.
- Look out for drafts in doors and windows: Cracks in doors and windows can cause a lot of heat to escape from the home. To avoid this, drafts proof all the windows with weather stripping or caulking. You can also use door sweeps to block spaces under the door. Install curtains or insulate the windows with a plastic film sheet to retain heat inside the home. Prefer buying dark colored curtains made of a thick material to add coziness to the room.
- Trim shrubs, hedges and branches: Strong winds or accumulation of snow can lead to weakening and falling of the tree branches. Hence, you should trim the overgrown shrubs, hedges and branches so that they do not cause any damage to your tenants or the property. Trimming will also help to prepare your plants for the spring season.
- Reverse the ceiling fan: If there is a reverse switch in your ceiling fan, turn it on. As the blades of the fan move in the opposite direction, the heat generated by the HVAC system will be pushed down. This can be particularly beneficial for homes with high ceilings. A warmer home will also decrease the load on your thermostat, thereby improving its efficiency.
- Add rugs and warm beddings: During the winter season, tile and hardwood floors can get quite cold. The best solution for this is to install carpet flooring inside the home. Carpets will also trap the heat and keep your home warmer for a long period of time. You can also place wool rugs near the kitchen, bathroom or other areas where you tend to walk without shoes. The bedding should also be replaced with foamy comforters and fleece blankets so that the tenants do not face any problems.
For more tips on maintaining your rental home during the winter season, you can contact John Reider Properties at (254) 699 – 8300. You can also visit our office at 455 E. Central Texas Expwy Suite 101, Harker Heights, TX 76548.