Whether or not you’re a fan of cold weather, one thing is inevitable: winter is coming. As if frosted windshields, numb hands, wet socks, turtlenecks and increased budgeting for tissues weren’t enough reasons to dislike winter, there’s also the added worry of having to winterize your properties so they’ll make it through the treacherously cold winter season. If you’re worried about all the stress that comes along with winterizing your property, rest assured. There are several easy and cost-efficient steps you can take to ensure the longevity of your properties through the winter.
What is Winterizing Exactly?
If you’re a property manager, home owner, landlord, or anyone who’s had to maintain the upkeep of a piece of real estate, you know the winter season can bring unexpected problems if the proper precautions haven’t been taken care of ahead of time. Whether it’s a frozen pipe bursting, a heater fire, or a mouse infestation, taking the proper steps of preventative action can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. This is where winterizing really comes in handy.
Winterizing is defined as “making something able to resist the effects of winter weather.” The idea is to “winter proof” your properties before the cold weather arrives and messes something
up. Thinking ahead is key in winterizing and it will really make your life easier come December. So what steps can you take to winterize your properties?
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IIBHS) has some suggestions, listed below, for winterizing your properties both inside and out, which can ultimately help save a ton of money and unnecessary headaches in the future.
Tips for Piping and Water Systems
In order to prevent things like pipes from freezing or bursting, here are a few simple precautions you can take:
• Shut off and cover outdoor water faucets
• Caulk cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes
• Allow indoor faucets to drip lukewarm water
• Wrap exposed outdoor pipes in insulated sleeves
• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow heat to radiate around pipes
• Drain water systems in unused areas
Following these steps can help your pipes stay warmer and will prevent them from freezing or bursting. The last thing you would want is a property either without water or submerged in water, not to mention the added worry and cost of having to replace a busted pipe.
Tips for Heat and Energy Efficiency
Here are some tips to help you become more efficient and safe when heating your properties:
• Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors
• Set thermostats in vacant units to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit
• Never use an oven to heat a home
• Turn off portable heaters when leaving a room or going to bed
Utilizing these tips can save money on the amount of heat used during cold winter months. By keeping cold air out, heating systems can operate more effectively and efficiently. These tips also help with reducing the likelihood of an unnecessary fire, which can literally be a life-saver.
Tips for Rodent-Proofing
For dealing with keeping rodents such as mice and rats out of your house during the cold season, the following tips can be helpful:
• Sealing any openings that mice or rats could fit into
• Making sure all food is sealed and stored away
• Regularly take the trash out and ensure that cans are sealed
• Make sure your properties are kept clean and organized
Many of these tips might be redundant or things you already do, but really emphasizing these tips right before and throughout the winter will ensure you don’t have any uninvited guests showing up during the holiday season—and I’m referring to mice, not your in-laws. Now that we know plenty of good tips on winterizing the inside of properties, how can you winterize the outside?
Tips for Heavy Snowfall
IIBHS also created some tips for outdoor winterization safety, particularly about how to prepare for heavy snowfall. Heavy snowfall cannot only damage your roof, but it can cause serious risk or injury to residents. Tips for avoiding snow buildup and recommended best practices and tools are:
• Use de-icing materials, snow rakes and drag lines to remove snow from rooftops
• Before stepping on a roof, identify hazardous fall spots like skylights, roof drains and vents
• Before removing snow, assess the weight of the snow, uniformly remove it and avoid making big piles
• Wear warm safety and protection equipment and clothing and stay hydrated while working
• Wear a safety harness and use ropes or winches to lift snow removal equipment like snow blowers and other heavy tools
Hopefully you can use many of these tips and save yourself some time, money and stress during the holiday season. Utilizing these tips ahead of time can save you from problems like frozen pipes, mice infestations, fires, icy sidewalks and injuries. Be sure to take the necessary steps needed to winterize your properties and stop winter before it starts.