Winterizing your property, rental or otherwise, will ensure happier inhabitants.
When you decided to become a rental property owner, you may not have realized how demanding the maintenance would be. But, with a little careful planning you can avoid costly emergencies. Winter can be challenging and there’s inside and outside maintenance needed.
Check for Cracks
Interior seals around windows and doors can prevent leaks of cold air and moisture. This can cause the HVAC to work harder. Check doors and windows for signs of cracks. Does your property have the proper amount of insulation in the attic? Attics, crawlspaces, and open areas without sufficient insulation cause warm air to escape.
Winterize the Pipes
Cooler temperatures signal a higher risk for frozen and busted pipes, sometimes even in Texas. Preventing frozen pipes requires educating your tenants to recognize the signs, what steps to take, and tips for prevention.
Installing pipe insulation will also help protect vital plumbing fixtures. Frozen pipes are a potentially devastating repair, so it is worth the time to remind tenants of their responsibility as cold weather approaches.
Service Essential Systems
During colder weather, HVAC systems and water heaters work overtime, so the system needs to function properly to prevent an emergency, causing unhappy, cold tenants. Hiring a professional property management company ensures your major systems such as HVAC are running smoothly all year long. Take time to show your tenants how to change HVAC filters to ensure better efficiency.
Reverse the Ceiling Fans
Warm air rises. So, if possible, reverse the ceiling fans to force warm air back down into living spaces to help regulate the temperature more efficiently. If the property has high ceilings, this tip is a big help. Tenants will appreciate the added heating savings, too.
Check Your Detectors
A winter maintenance inspection is a perfect time to check and test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Ensuring these vital alarms are in working order is critical to your tenant’s safety and the protection of your property. If you don’t have enough devices, add more. This is another helpful maintenance task your property management company can tackle.
Trim Shrubs and Cut Back Trees
Wind and ice can easily bring down limbs onto a property’s roof or exterior, creating a potentially dangerous and expensive situation. Be sure to inspect trees for signs of dead or damaged limbs that should be cut before falling and causing damage. Now is also a great time to spruce up the rest of the landscaping. Remember the power of curb appeal.
Prepping the Yard
It’s good to give the grass one final cut before the first big freeze of the year. This step allows the grass to send energy to the root system, aiding a healthy regrowth in springtime. Raking up and removing remaining dead leaves also promotes lawn health.
Gutters full of debris and leaves can cause water to reroute and damage the property’s exterior, roof, or foundation. At a minimum, clean gutters twice a year. And while you’re up there, take a look at the condition of your roof. Potential issues are nearly impossible to see under a few feet of snow, and by then it might be too late. Fix gutters, holes, or detached downspouts and any roof issues you come across.
Exterior and Foundation Inspection
Falling leaves and snow can hide problems brewing around the property exterior. So, carefully check the foundation, patio, walkways, and entry points to ensure they are free from leaks, cracking, or damage. Keep in mind, winter’s colder temperatures entice rodents to look for safe shelter indoors. Seal up any exterior points of entry to avoid rodent problems.
Winterize Outdoor Hookups
Just like indoor pipes, outside garden hoses and spigots can freeze and break, so detach any hose connections and drain all liquid before properly storing hoses for the winter. Once complete, turn off the outside water supply and bleed the lines to ensure no water remains that could freeze and rupture the spigot or pipe.
If the property has a fireplace, proper chimney care is essential to any property maintenance. Inspect and clean chimneys and vents at least once per year. Doing so helps to prevent the risk of chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Again, a job for the property manager.
Prepare for Snow Removal
Snow falling means snow removal. In some cases, your rental property maintenance under the lease may require tenants to be responsible for snow removal. If not, the worst thing you can do is wait to secure a snow removal service contract.
Rental property maintenance is a huge undertaking, but essential to protecting your valuable investment property. Unless you have a network of trusted vendors and contractors, it’s a smart idea to work with a reliable property management company like Cousin James Management.
Contact us today to learn more about our full-service property management services. Let Cousin James Management help you successfully manage your rental property.