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Winterizing a Vacant Home During Frigid Weather

Man Wrapping Pipes in a Corte Madera Rental PropertyAny rental property will face hazards in frigid temperatures, but this is especially true for the properties that are vacant during the cold. Do you have a rental property that is or will be sitting empty soon? If so, it would do you well to have it winterized properly. 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. Read on if you want to know how to properly winterize a vacant rental property so that it can go through a winter’s deep freeze.

Leave the Heat On

To properly winterize your rental property, don’t forget to leave the heat on. It’s natural to want to turn it off to save costs on utilities. What most people don’t anticipate is the cost that comes with a flooded home due to pipes that have burst because there was no heating in the rental home. 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

Frozen pipes often become very problematic, so it’s best to drain and insulate them properly, especially for a house that’s going to be vacant in cold temperatures. Start by draining and detaching any garden hoses on the outside, and wrap your exterior hose bibs with insulation. Should your property have a sprinkler system, make sure you drain it so that you prevent any leaks underground. 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

A key step in winterizing your vacant rental property is to check your gutters and roof. The gutters and roof of your rental property are most often the culprits for any cold-weather issue — sometimes even more than plumbing, really. Clogged gutters or missing shingles can cause water to seep into the attic and walls and gather around the house’s foundation. And if that water freezes, it will expand and wreck the structure. Hence, make sure your roof is weather-tight, your gutters clean and drained properly.

Trim Trees & Shrubs

Lastly, 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. The same goes for woodpiles or any other objects that are touching the house. Keep an eye out for branches that are too close to the house. These can cause clogging in your gutters with leaves, or might even break or fall on the house during a storm. Pests and insects are usually found in woodpiles, and, when it gets too cold, they could migrate indoors. The last thing you want to be doing during freezing temperatures is to deal with a broken window, a damaged roof, or a pest infestation. To make it even worse, when your insurance company finds out about these issues, they could use them to deny any claims 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 SonoMarin, 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 Corte Madera property managers by calling 650-969-4800.

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