Owning your own rental property is a great way to help fund your retirement, let’s face it, it’s not like many of us have pensions anymore. But, it’s also a lot more work than most people think. You need to research the best areas to buy, find homes that are for sale (ideally at a good price), negotiate with sellers and make sure the inspection goes smoothly once you do buy it.
With any property there are always maintenance concerns but in the winter there are some unique challenges around properties. Frozen pipes and burst water heaters can be big problems in an older home or if you live somewhere with harsh winters.
Here are some tips on how you can manage maintenance during winter so you don’t have to worry about things freezing up or bursting this coming winter.
Have A Plan In Place Before The Winter
There are a lot of little things you can do to help your rentals stay warm and comfortable in the winter. However, there are only so many things you can do before winter even begins. Check the insulation in your rental property to see if it is still up to code, replace it if not. Ensure your windows and doors seal properly, have screens on the windows if appropriate.
Make sure the water heater is up to the right temperature, water is heated to the right temperature and that people aren’t overusing it. Before winter even arrives, you should also make sure your HVAC system is in good shape, you can’t do much about that in the winter though. You should also make sure the furnace is also in good shape. If it’s an older system, now is the time to think about replacing it. You don’t want to be stuck with a broken furnace in the winter or have to pay a lot of money on repairs. You also don’t want to risk carbon monoxide poisoning by having an old furnace.
Change The Drain Stopper
Another thing you can do before winter that will help a lot with frozen pipes is to change your drain stopper. You can get special stoppers that are made to withstand freezing temperatures better and if you do have a frozen pipe, it can help buy you some time.
However, it’s not a permanent fix and you will have to get the pipe thawed out eventually. But, it can help buy you some time if you have a frozen pipe in the winter. You can also make sure to check your water heater periodically. If it is over 10 years old, you may want to replace it. New water heaters are required to have an anti-freeze solution to help prevent frozen pipes.
Check And Change The Furnace Filter
Another thing you can do to help protect your furnace from getting clogged up from ash and dust is to make sure you are cleaning the filter at least once a month. You can do this yourself or hire a cleaning service to come out and do it for you. It only takes a few minutes and is a good way to minimize the risk of your furnace getting clogged up in the winter and breaking down.
If you do live in an area with harsh winters, you will want to make sure your furnace is ready for the cold. You may want to hire someone to come out and make sure it is ready to go. You also want to make sure it is on a good maintenance plan where a professional will come out and check it each year and make any necessary repairs.
Check Your Venting
One thing that people often forget to check is their venting. If your vents are clogged or blocked, they won’t be able to expel the warm air properly, increasing the risk of CO poisoning, frozen pipes, and a higher energy bill. Sometimes you can unclog the vents yourself. If you have a fireplace you may want to periodically open the flue to make sure the chimney is clear. If you own a rental property, you may want to hire a professional to come out and clean and inspect the vents. This is often better than doing it yourself since you will likely miss some things. You also want to make sure your vents are not blocked by trees and other debris in the fall, especially if you live in an area that has heavy snowfall.
Turn Off Water Heating System
If you are on a well and don’t have any type of water heating system, you can turn off the water and let it freeze. The frozen water creates an insulating layer around the well and can help keep it from freezing. However, you don’t want to do this if you have a water heating system.
You want the water to stay moving to prevent it from freezing. If you are on a well, you should still turn off the water heating system to help it stay from freezing up. If you have a water heating system and want to prevent it from freezing, you can turn off the water to it and let it freeze. You can then use a hair dryer or a hand warmer to thaw it out once spring arrives. You don’t want to use a propane or other type of open flame to thaw out the frozen water because it can cause an explosion.
Check Window Frames For Leaks And Rot
If you have rental property that has a lot of wooden frames around the windows, you may want to hire a contractor to come out and inspect them. This is especially true if they are older and haven’t been taken care of. You want to make sure they don’t have any leaks and don’t have rot.
Rental properties that have a lot of wooden frames around the windows are especially at risk of this. You also want to make sure the windows are weatherproofed and aren’t letting in a lot of cold air. You can do this by caulking around the windows and adding storm windows if necessary. Make sure you caulk around the edges of the storm windows to prevent them from leaking. You don’t want to seal the storm windows in place since they will be hard to remove in the spring.
Owning rental properties is a great way to help fund your retirement. It’s also a lot more work than most people think. You need to research the best areas to buy, find homes that are for sale (ideally at a good price), negotiate with sellers, and make sure the inspection goes smoothly once you do buy it. With any property there are always maintenance concerns but in the winter there are some unique challenges around properties. Frozen pipes and burst water heaters can be big problems in an older home or if you live somewhere with harsh winters. Here are some tips on how you can manage maintenance during winter so you don’t have to worry about things freezing up or bursting this coming winter.
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