Before the winter months arrive, it’s important to prepare your rental home for the cold weather. Fall is the ideal season to get your property ready so that you can avoid expensive repairs next spring. Below, you can find the complete preventive maintenance checklist for autumn, covering both the interior and exterior of your single-family rental.
#1 Remove Garden Hoses
Detach garden hoses from faucets. Hoses that are left attached during the colder months can cause water in the faucets and pipes to freeze. Water that reaches a certain temperature can cause the faucets and pipes to expand or crack.
This is a fairly simple task to do, so be sure to put it on the top of your list so that the cold doesn’t result in any damage. Remember to completely shut off the water supply for exterior faucets. You should also drain all garden hoses and keep them in the storage shed for the winter.
#2 Clean the Gutters
A common problem during winter is runoff from the snow. If your rental property’s gutters are clogged with branches, leaves, twigs, and other debris, melted snow will be trapped on the roof. When water doesn’t properly drain, it can cause damage to the home’s foundations. Plus, neglected gutters invite all kinds of critters.
Make sure that your gutters aren’t damaged. Check your downspout to see if it needs replacement. Ideally, the downspout should extend around five feet away from the property.
#3 Check the Roof
Inspect your roof for warning signs such as cracked, loose, or missing shingles, as well as black algae stains and other signs of decay. Check the vents to see if they’re sealed correctly. Gaps in the roof can allow melted snow to enter the home.
If you own a two-story, single-family rental home, use binoculars to eyeball your roof safely from the ground. However, if you find it difficult to inspect your roof from below, it may be best to hire a professional roofer. A property management company can help you find the best vendors in the area.
#4 Inspect the Furnace
During the colder months, you’ll need an efficient heating system to keep your tenants warm. Schedule an appointment with an HVAC technician to tune up your property’s furnace, making it ready for continuous heating during the winter.
Changing the furnace’s filters should be done every two months, but if you’re behind on HVAC maintenance, now is the right time to replace them. Have a technician regularly check your furnace to ensure efficiency and to spot minor problems before they can turn into costly repairs. You should also consider conducting an energy audit to assess your rental property’s energy efficiency.
#5 Winterize Pools
Don’t wait until your pool turns into a skating rink! Frozen pools are a serious safety hazard. Protect your tenants from accidents by preparing the pool for the winter. You can do this by pouring winterizing chemicals, decreasing the water level, removing ladders and slides, and covering it with a pool cover.
You might be assuming that leaving the pool empty is a better solution, however, pools that are dried out are more prone to expanding, stretching, and cracking. Leaving water inside the pool protects its foundation and lining.
#6 Check Windows and Doors
Screen doors and windows may have worked in the summer, but they won’t be any help during the winter. Your fall maintenance checklist should include replacing screen doors and windows with ones that can protect against snowstorms.
Inspect each door and window to see if they are airtight. Seal the gaps around them using caulk or rubber seals to prevent cold air from seeping in.
#7 Prepare Your Garden
Prune plants and trees, making sure that their branches are at least three feet away from the home. This prevents melted snow from dripping onto the roof, damaging the exterior of the rental property.
Prepare your garden for the winter by adding compost to the flower beds. You should also consider planting cover crops such as clover and rye at least one month before the first frost. Cover crops prevent soil erosion and increase fertility in the soil.
#8 Bring Outdoor Furniture Indoors
Don’t test the durability of your outdoor furniture by leaving it outside during snowstorms. The cold weather can be harsh on patio furniture.
If you want to protect the condition of your outdoor furniture, remember to bring them indoors. Furniture is expensive — if you want to avoid the costs of replacing them when springtime comes, you should store outdoor furniture including chairs, tables, etc. in the garage.
#9 Inspect Railings, Walkways, and Stairs
When the ground is completely covered in ice, walking from the front door to the garage can be dangerous. Make navigating around the property safer and easier for tenants by inspecting all exterior stairs and walkways. Be sure that the stairs (especially wooden ones) have sturdy railings, and the driveway is in good condition. Provide your tenants with at least one shovel.
#10 Replace Batteries in Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors are especially useful during the winter. With people closing their windows and cranking up the indoor heat, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning becomes more serious. In some cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can result in death.
Don’t take any chances. Keep your tenants safe from carbon monoxide poisoning by installing a carbon monoxide detector. Install it in areas where there are gas heating appliances. If your rental property already has a carbon monoxide detector, test them regularly to see if they’re functioning properly. Change their batteries as needed.
Aside from keeping your tenants warm and safe during the winter season, proper fall maintenance can help you avoid spending money on costly repairs. Refer to this checklist next autumn or create your own!
Luxury Property Care can create a fall maintenance checklist that’s customized for your property. With connections to reputable vendors across the state, we can take care of these tasks before the snow falls.