5 Steps You Must Take Now to Winterize your Property

We hate to be alarmists but you know as well as we do: winter is upon us! And based on the “big freeze” that started across the US earlier this month, we already know this one’s going to be tough.

For property managers, the winter months often come with some trepidation over the toll extreme weather conditions will take on their property. Making sure your property is protected against the snow, sleet and ice that typically accompany the significant drop in temperatures can make all the difference in minimizing damage – as well as its associated expense later. So we put together this list – with the help of our friends at Houzz – of 5 steps you can take to winterize your property and be as prepared as possible in the face of it all:

1. Protect entryway flooring.

Make it easy for your tenants to help you protect your entryway floor from all the tracked-in snow, ice, road salt and sand. Something as simple as placing floor mats both inside and outside each entrance to your property can go a long way to making your flooring last. Consider also placing a boot scraper or brush outside the front door to encourage tenants to remove excess snow before their step in, as well as a waterproof tray inside for placing wet shoes and boots.  

2. Ensure those smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

The winter cold means we’re keeping our windows closed but using those wood-burning stoves and fireplaces more often. Avoid any potential ramifications by placing both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each bedroom, on each floor of the house and in the kitchen. And don’t forget to check detectors monthly and change batteries as needed!

3. Don’t let the ice dams get you.

If you’ve ever experienced an ice dam on your roofline, you know what a nightmare it can be. Ice dams form when melted snow from the top of the roof backs up behind a “dam” of ice around its eaves, where the temperature is colder (due to less insulation).  This can potentially result in leaks as well as permanent damage to your property’s roof and home. This Old House offers these tips for preventing those troublesome ice dams from forming.  

4. Make it easy on the trees. 

If a tree is within reach of your property you’ve got a potential problem on your hands. Big snowfalls can settle onto tree limbs, making them heavy and more prone to breaking, which can be especially dangerous. Try brushing off snow from tree limbs to ease their burden after each snowfall, using a broom to extend your reach. Remember – shaking the tree to remove snow may cause brittle limbs to break. Follow proper tree maintenance in the fall, along with regular snow removal to help prevent breakage. If a limb does fall during winter, try to have it removed as soon as you can!

5. Prevent frozen pipes.

And what winter isn’t complete with frozen pipes? Because water expands as it freezes, frozen pipes can burst, leading to extensive water damage and costly repairs. You can avoid this major headache by following these important steps to prevent pipes from freezing in winter:

  • Insulate pipes — at least those by windows and doors, and in unheated areas of the home.
  • Disconnect your hose from the outside hose bib (outside faucet).
  • If prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly — the theory is that running water does not freeze.
  • Keep the heat set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 degrees Celsius) when you are away.

Remember, prevention is far easier – and more cost-effective – than treatment! Take these precautions to protect and prepare your property for the worst this winter and you may end up avoiding it completely. Stay warm and safe!


This article was adopted from the Houzz blog. For more useful tips or to read the full article click here.

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