Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to Freeze-Proof Your Rental Property

Most of us here in the US of A have to ensure freezing temperatures at some point in the year. Cold weather can cause thousands of dollars of damage to property, so it’s important to protect your personal home and rental properties with these very simple steps!
  1. Heat
Probably common sense, but ALWAYS leave the heat on! If you are going away on vacation or the house is vacant, leave the heat set to 55 degrees so that the house remains well above freezing. If you don’t have the option of having the heat on for some reason, you will have to completely dewinterize your house – see number 5.
  1. Exterior Water Faucets
This step should be done in the fall well before the temperatures start dipping. However, make sure that your hoses are completely disconnected and that you have turned off your exterior water faucets from the inside. Once you have turned them off from the inside, drain the left over water from the outside. If you have an older home or no interior water shut-off valve, go to the hardware store and pick up some insulating foam faucet covers. They are only about $4-5 apiece and they will help protect your exterior faucets from wind chill and general cold.
  1.  Open your under-sink cabinet doors
Even if you have the heat on, the area inside your cabinets can be exposed to cold spots, especially if they are located along an exterior wall. When the temperatures are frigidly-cold or if the house is vacant, leave the under-sink cabinet doors open to allow heat to come in. This will help prevent your pipes from freezing.
  1. Let it trickle!
You have to be especially careful with drafty homes that have any pipes that run along an exterior wall, especially in an older home. Even if your home is fully heated, a cold draft in a wall can cause your pipes to freeze and burst without warning. The best and most permanent solution is to add insulation where needed. If you don’t have that option, let the faucets that are hooked up to pipes running along exterior walls trickle just enough to keep the water moving through the pipes. Running water makes it much harder to freeze, so having even the smallest of movement through the pipe will help you prevent freezing.
  1. For vacant houses with no heat….
You will have to completely shut off the water to the house and drain your water heater, toilets, and pipes. Any water sitting in any fixtures or pipes will freeze in a house with no heat and will cause immeasurable damage if they burst while no one is there. A lot of banks with vacant foreclosure properties also put antifreeze in the toilets and other fixtures as an extra measure of caution. If you really want to be careful, you can hire professional companies to dewinterize your home. 

So there you have it! Follow these tips to protect your investment from damaging cold temperatures, or you can always choose to live and/or invest in warm year-round climates :)

Lauren Frost
Advanced Property Management, Inc.

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