What You Can Do to Prepare Your Rental Property for Winter

man on ladder cleaning house gutter from leaves and dirt

From prepping the lawn to cleaning out the gutters, it’s time for Boulder County homeowners and rental property owners to start prepping for winter.

Winter is full of surprises, and not always fun ones. The last thing you want is a call from a tenant letting you know that your gutters or roof are leaking, or that your chimney or furnace have a serious blockage.

Winterizing your property is a valuable step in preventing maintenance issues during the long winter months that could affect the value of your property (and the happiness of your tenants). From preparing your lawn and garden for freezing to ensuring your roof and gutters are ready for snow and ice, prepping your rental property for winter is key to keeping your property protected and tenants happy until spring.

It’s important that you prepare your property before winter comes, when the weather is still nice and snow doesn’t turn a simple fix into a trek through heaps of snow and ice.

Here’s the Boulder County property manager’s guide to preparing your rental property for a successful headache-free winter.

How to Prepare Your Lawn for Winter

Thinking about your lawn during the winter may seem counterintuitive. But maintaining your lawn in the fall will ensure you’ll have a lush, green lawn in the spring.

Use a Winterizing Fertilizer

Winterizing fertilizer helps give your lawn some extra nutrition before the long winter. Fertilizing your grass in the fall will help it be more prepared for the harsh weather ahead and come back in the spring looking fresh and healthy.

The fertilizer needs to have an extra dose of potassium to help the roots take hold so they’ll survive in cold temperatures. Look for a fertilizer with a high “K” value, which signifies extra potassium.

Consider mulching your autumn leaves and spreading it over your lawn or garden to provide extra nutrients for the soil during the winter season. This is a great way to naturally keep your lawn healthily dormant, and a way to reuse all those fall leaves

If you aren’t exactly a DIY lawn person, hire a reputable company to handle it. Professional lawn services like GSC know exactly what your lawn needs, what tools to use, and how to distribute fertilizer evenly.

Fertilizer spread unevenly can lead to brown spots in your lawn when spring comes around. Hiring a lawn care professional also saves you the time and labor of lawn maintenance – why not spend that time and energy instead seeking out new tenants, or enjoying the last bit of nice weather with your family?

Blow Out Your Sprinkler System

Even small amounts of leftover water in your irrigation system can expand and break your pipes when outdoor temperatures drop below freezing. Drain and blow out the water completely to protect your system from damage during winter freezes.

How to Prepare the Exterior of Your Home for Winter

Every property manager needs to inspect the exterior of their property prior to winter. Winter often makes existing water damage issues even worse with constant freezing and melting, while drafty windows can make your energy costs rise, and more.

Checking for Peeling Paint

Areas where the paint may be peeling on your house or apartment are more vulnerable to the moisture from snow, which can lead to water damage.

If you find areas with peeling paint, sand the areas thoroughly with a sander or sandpaper, then apply a thin layer of patching material with a putty knife. Sand that layer once it’s dry, then touch up the area with some matching paint to seal out any winter moisture.

Winterize Spigots and Hoses

If either of these break during the winter, there could be costly repairs come springtime.

Turn off the interior shut-off valve to the water line leading to the spigot, then leave the outdoor valve directly on the spigot on for a few hours to drain completely.

Make sure all hoses are disconnected from any water sources and are safely coiled up — snowfall and ice can damage the spigot the hose may be connected to.

Seal Windows

Drafty windows not only bring chilly air into your house, but can also spike your heating bills. Caulk any places that may have gaps around the window and windowsill.

Consider applying a plastic film insulation (available at most hardware stores) to maximize your prevention against the cold.

This clear plastic is transparent, so windows still let in the same amount of light. According to Energy Star, sealing areas like windows can save property owners an average of 15% on their heating costs!

Inspect the Roof and Clear Gutters

It’s important to make sure your roof and gutters are ready to handle heavy snowfall and the stress of thawing and refreezing before winter.

Check for Leaks

Roof inspections are a must before winter rolls around. Heavy snow adds stress to your roof and that extra weight can make it weak.

Melting snow is always a risk for leaks with all that extra water, especially if heavy snow has left your roof weak in places. If there’s a leak or roof damage, fix it early to prevent costly repairs.

Check Gutters and Downspouts

Gutters and downspouts need to have all dead leaves, twigs and other debris cleared so they can do their job and drain snow melt from your roof properly.

A clog in the system could be catastrophic by blocking drainage flow and causing the water to collect on your roof, leading to water damage.

HVAC Cleaning and Repair

Since the heating system or boiler for your property likely hasn’t been used since last winter or spring, this is another area that will need your attention to make sure everything is ready for the next big freeze.

Test Run Your System

Before the weather gets too cold, make sure your heating system will keep renters and your property adequately warm. Turn it on and do a walk-through to make sure all of the house are getting enough air.

Check Vents

Be sure all exhaust areas and indoor vents are free of obstructions. An outdoor vent that hasn’t been used for months may now be home to a bird’s nest or other critters who are using it as a convenient cubby.

This can block airflow and increase risk of fires — not to mention harm any animals who just moved into the neighborhood.

Replace Air Filters

Make sure your heater is free of any dust that may have built up since last spring. Replacing filters also helps the heater operate at a higher efficiency.

If you have tenants on your property, encourage them to replace the air filter every 1-2 months. Monthly air filter replacement is recommended by manufacturers to help keep their air clean and prevent any filter problems from coming up.

Clean Your Carpets

Winter means tenants will inevitably be tracking snow, mud, and leaves inside your property. Mud season brings with it lots of staining and wear on your carpet.

Cleaning your carpet now and consistently during the winter season will help make your carpet last longer and look polished for the next round of renters.

Having your carpet professionally cleaned maintains your carpet’s lifespan and improves air quality. That’s because the windows will be closed all season, causing stale air to build up inside the property.

Have your carpets cleaned now before the weather sets in so that you can start the winter season fresh, instead of letting the entire summer’s musty air linger in your carpets.

Have a Snow Removal Plan

Most property managers are far too busy to prioritize shoveling out in front of their rental property, much less if there are entire parking lots on their property to manage. You won’t be able to handle Boulder county’s snow every time it falls, but it’s unlawful to let snow build up on sidewalks.

GSC’s professional snow removal team has over 30 years of experience keeping Boulder County’s homes, rental properties, and businesses clear of snow and in compliance with local laws.

We take care of the snow and ice so you can focus on enjoying a fresh snow fall, not stressing about it.

Maintenance Your Chimneys

Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a good book beside the fire, so make sure that it’s in working order before the first big storm of winter blows through.

Give it a thorough cleaning, especially if it hasn’t had it in a while. You can hire someone to clean it professionally, or get a creosote log to clear the chimney of debris.

This list for Boulder county property owners is by no means exhaustive. Do your own thorough inspection of the property for additional issues, and ask tenants if they need anything fixed before the winter. They’ll thank you, and so will your wallet.

Pretty soon the snow will be here, and you won’t want to personally handle the snow removal around your property every time it falls.

If you’re a property owner who needs safe parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways, a little elbow grease doesn’t always cover it. Hiring a commercial snow removal team will get the job done efficiently and with ease. Read these tips for hiring your snow removal contractor >