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Winterizing a Vacant Home During Frigid Weather

Man Wrapping Pipes in a Woodbury Rental PropertyFrigid temperatures are bad for any rental property, but this can be especially bad for vacant properties during the cold parts of any year. If you have a rental property that’s going to be sitting empty, even if just for a bit, it’s wise to winterize it. If temperatures drop and the property isn’t ready, you could end up with burst pipes, a leaking roof, or any number of cold-weather headaches. Keep reading if you want to know more about how to properly winterize a vacant rental property so that it can withstand winter’s deep freeze.

Leave the Heat On

The first step towards winterizing your rental property is to leave the heat on. You might want to turn it off so that you can save some money from utilities. But, it will be more costly when you end up with a flooded home and burst pipes because of the lack of heating in your rental. You don’t need to leave the heat on full blast, but it should be consistently warm enough on the inside of the house to help keep your pipes from icing over.

Drain and Insulate Your Pipes

The thing about vacant houses in cold temperatures is that they often are left with frozen pipes. So, it’s always a good idea to drain them and insulate them properly before they are left vacant. Start by draining and detaching any garden hoses on the outside, and wrap your exterior hose bibs with insulation. Does your rental come with a sprinkler system? If so, make sure you drain it so that any possible leaks underground can be prevented. Inside the house, wrap any exposed pipes – especially those in the basement or attic – with insulation or spray with foam.

Clean Gutters and Inspect the Roof

In preparing your vacant rental property for the cold season, make sure to check your gutters and your roof. While plumbing may cause issues in your rental property from time to time, so do your gutters and roof — especially when it comes to cold-weather-related issues! Clogged gutters or missing shingles can cause water to seep into the attic and walls and gather around the house’s foundation. When that water freezes wherever it seeps into, it will expand. When it expands, it will break the structure. This is why it’s always good to make sure your gutters are clean and drained properly, and your roof made weather-tight.

Trim Trees & Shrubs

And, one last task you should do to winterize your vacant rental property is to trim back any tree branches or shrubs that are touching or overhanging the house. Remember, any woodpile or objects touching the house should also be moved. Take notice of any branches that might be too close to your roof. It could cause clogging of your gutters with leaves. You also don’t want them to break and fall on your house during a storm. Woodpiles can be home to pests and insects, which may find themselves moving indoors when it gets too cold. You definitely don’t want to have to deal with a broken window, a damaged roof, or a pest infestation when in freezing temperatures. As if that’s not bad enough, your own insurance company could use these issues to deny any claim you file.


Winterizing a vacant rental property can be a time-consuming but necessary task. But you don’t have to do it alone. At Real Property Management Fidelis, we help rental property owners like you keep their rentals ready for whatever Mother Nature may bring. To learn more, talk with one of our Woodbury property managers by calling 844-365-7368.

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