Easy Steps to Winterize your Rental Property
Winter is upon us and cooler weather has set in. Even in California’s Central Valley, the days have shortened and temperatures have dropped. No doubt the chilly air is finding its way into your rental property, making your tenants uncomfortable and the heating bills increase. As a landlord, you have an implied warranty of liveability, and are responsible for providing your tenants with a home that is both safe and liveable. necessities that every landlord must provide include heating and a roof that keeps out rain and snow, but what else must a landlord do in order to provide a safe and liveable home through the winter months? Read on to learn more about winterizing your rental unit, and remember- you can always call on the experts at SAN MAR Property Management to help!
Winterizing properties is necessary in order to keep the heat in and your energy bills low. According to EnergyStar, proper winterization can save an average of 11 percent on energy bills. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you properly winterize your rental property:
#1: Check Windows and Doors
Don’t let drafts run up your energy bill! Windows and doors often leak air, so check if you feel a draft. Drafts caused by poorly sealed windows and doors cause your home to lose heat, and let the cold air in. If you do feel a draft, there are a few ways to block them up.
Install Storm Windows and Doors
Because there’s no need for screens in the winter, you might choose to replace them with storm windows and doors. These will add an extra barrier against the cool air and chilly winds.
Use Weatherstripping or Caulking
To seal up a draft, you can try using some weather stripping or caulking. Caulking works well around loose panes of glass on single-pane windows, just apply a small amount in any cracks in wood or gaps between glass and frames. Weatherstripping is a good solution for windows that are a little loose or doors that don’t quite fit in their frames. It comes in rolls of varying width, so make sure you know the size of your gap. Choose the right width of weather stripping for your need, then cut to fit the length, and apply the adhesive backing to the frame.
If necessary, you can shrink-wrap the whole window or door. Only do this if the tenant will leave the door or window unopened for the rest of the winter. To use this method, purchase a kit that includes a thin plastic sheet and double-sided tape. First, place the tape around the frame of your door or window and remove the backing, then apply the plastic sheet to the tape and cut to fit. You can then use a hair dryer to heat the plastic until it shrinks to fit.
#2: Fill the Gaps
Doors and windows aren’t the only cause of cold-air leaks and drafts. Check outlets and places where wires have been run in, and fill any gaps with expanding insulating foam. Filling these gaps serves another purpose as well- it will help rodents, bugs and other creatures from entering the home.
#3: Cover or Remove AC Units
During winter it’s advisable to remove any AC units from the windows. These units should be drained, and removed until next year. For wall units, you can get insulated covers to keep the cold out, just be sure to drain the unit first.
#4: Insulate Pipes on Outside Walls
Covering pipes that run along outside-facing walls with insulating foam will help prevent a burst pipe. Exposed pipes are at risk of freezing; take the simple step of preventing this with insulation.
#5: Check for the Less Obvious Air Leaks
Drafts sometimes come from less obvious places, such as attics and basements. If your unit has an attic or crawl space, seal up gaps between walls, as well as gaps around attic doors or hatches. In the basement, it may be helpful to seal the seam where the foundation meets the frame, and fill in cracks in the foundation as well. Sealing gaps around bathroom vents can help too.
#6: Consider a Programmable or Smart Thermostat
If possible, consider installing a programmable or smart thermostat. Tenants will love the convenience, and you’ll love saving money on heating bills. Programmable thermostats can be set to a lower temperature during the day or at night when no one’s up and around, and then set to a higher temperature for mornings, evenings and weekends. Smart thermostats can be monitored from a tenant’s phone, allowing them adjust the temperature remotely.
Whether it’s you or your tenants who pay the heating bills, winterizing your rental property will save money during the winter months. Preparing your rental unit to withstand the chill will also make your tenants more comfortable, which also means they are more likely to stay in the home, and less likely to try risky alternatives such as space heaters.
Winterizing your home, however, may be more work than you would prefer to do. In that case, consider obtaining help from a property management firm. SAN MAR Properties has been providing homeowners and landlords with property management services and support in California’s Central Valley for almost 40 years. With our team of real estate agents, property supervisors, resident managers, leasing consultants, maintenance and custodial personnel and administrative office staff, we can take care of all your property management needs. At SAN MAR Properties, our goal is to manage your asset as if it is our own. To learn more about SAN MAR, visit our website at http://sanmarprop.com, or call (559) 439-5500.