Top 10 Ways to Winterize Your Property

The winter months can be tough on your residential property and those cold, wet conditions can damage the home and impact the comfort levels of your tenants.  As a landlord, your primary concern is keeping good, reliable tenants in the property with a lease and you will want to make every effort to winterize it so that they stay happy while you protect your investment.  Typically when you hire a property manager in the Toronto area there are regularly scheduled maintenance check-ups in the Fall and Spring to ensure the property is ready for the harsher seasons as they approach.

The following list identifies the top 10 ways to winterize your property:

  1. Winterize Your PropertyCheck fireplaces – You will want to inspect the chimney and have a cleaning done to remove creosote build-up and make sure there are no obstructions that cold represent a fire hazard. Also it is a good idea to inspect the gas line (if using gas) and that the flue is in working order to shut it against inclement weather when the fireplace isn’t in use.
  2. Clean gutters – Use a leaf blower to remove heavier debris and then take a broom or rake to push off limbs and sweep the roof and gutters clean. This is important because the refuse can block drains or prevent snow and ice from easily coming off the roof.
  3. Weatherproof the exterior – Fill gaps in the brickwork with spray-on insulation and keep leaves and debris away from the foundation to prevent eroding it. It is also a good idea to drain hoses and blow out sprinkler systems to avoid freezing and cracking.
  4. Adding insulation – Depending on the age of your residential property, you will probably need to add insulation in the form of blown-in or fiberglass rolls. A quick energy audit by the supplier can show you the problem areas to add insulation.
  5. Furnace check-ups – This entails making sure the thermostat works properly and the furnace pilot light comes on and turns off as the unit cycles. This is the time when you may need to re-insulate ductwork that has become uncovered in the attic or crawlspace.
  6. Looks for drafts – This is an easy way to save money on electrical costs which will help you or your tenant depending on who is paying the bill. Your property manager should check around doors, windows and outlets to see if cold air can be felt.  Once identified, a vendor can easily add insulation or weather-stripping to seal out the cold.
  7. Water Heater flush – Debris and sediment can sit in your water heater and these particles will decrease the efficiency of your unit. This is guaranteed to upset your tenants greatly when they have a decrease in hot water in December.  The unit can easily be removed and drained to prevent this build-up.
  8. Weather-stripping and caulk – For only a few dollars you or your property manager can purchase weather-strip tape that is ideal for sealing windows and doors from outside temps which can increase your overall energy efficiency.
  9. Remove AC window units – Should your residential property not have central HVAC, the window units around the perimeter of the house can cool it. However, those units are typically very drafty during the winter, so it is a good idea to remove them temporarily or just upgrade to central HVAC.
  10. Install a storm door – Storm doors are pretty common anyway, but if your residential property in Toronto does not have one, it is an excellent way to help block cold air from slipping through the cracks around your front door. Storm doors also allow extra light in and can increase energy efficiency by nearly 50%.

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