Local Winter Preparation Tips for Landlords and Property Managers

Written By: on January 24, 2021

Cold weather maintenance and preparation are essential. It’s unlikely that landlords would want to deal with serious issues during winter.

Preventive maintenance and care of rental properties can help maintain smooth operations in all residential properties, commercial places for rent, business properties for rent in Lower Bucks, Eastern Montgomery, Northeastern Philadelphia, and surrounding areas.

Whether you own single-family homes or luxury apartments, wintertime means preventive maintenance time. Below are some key pointers for all landlords.

Furnaces and Boilers Should Be Serviced

Heating season means that furnaces and boilers will once again be put to the test. Your heating units should be checked and serviced if they are running at an optimal level. The earlier you do this, the better.

Preventive maintenance never hurt any landlord. Having a professional servicing company does it is best, even if you might feel like you already know a thing or two about heating units. Furnaces should be cleaned and checked. All repairs should the soonest possible time.

Having access to heat is not just essential; it is a basic right of renters. You can find this in the landlord-tenant law, so yes, landlords who don’t fix their heating units can be fined if heating isn’t working.

Specific municipalities have guidelines on the specific date that heating needs to be made available to tenants.

Inspect and Repair Seals on Doors and Windows

Door and window seals are simple in theory, but they’re the superior protection against excessive heating bills. Neither renters nor landlords want skyrocketing heating bills.

The next step in preventing spikes in heating costs is checking the exterior and interior of all the doors and windows in your residential units.

Keep a close eye on the door and window frames. Deteriorating or broken-down caulking and holes are signs that you need a professional handyman working on the unit ASAP. Re-caulking can be done within the day, and worn weather stripping should be replaced.

Another precaution against drafty indoor conditions is adding door sweeps. Temporary sweeps can be slid underneath doors. Permanent door sweeps are screw onto the bottom of doors. Hire a professional contractor if you wish to install permanent door sweeps.

Should your property have older windows that are single-pane, window wrap can help insulate the interior and keep away drafts. Window wraps can be purchased from virtually any Lowes or Home Depot.

For better protection against drafts (in the long term), consider upgrading single-pane windows to double-pane windows. If your agreement states that you will be paying for the heating bills, you save in heating costs by reinforcing insulation.

Inspect the Perimeter

Be sure to perform a full inspection around the perimeter of your property. Small critters can make small holes and crevices in preparation for winter. These small holes can also contribute to heat loss, and eventually, these fluctuations will impact heating costs. Gaps around plumbing that are entering the property from the exterior should also be covered. Be sure to seal these holes as you don’t want rodents taking refuge in the property in winter.

Inspect the Insulation Around the Property

Proper insulation is important for reducing heating costs. Crawl spaces, basements, and attics are prime areas for blowing new insulation to maintain heat levels indoors. Plumbing insulation is also necessary if you want to prevent pipes from freezing during winter.

Plan for Snow Removal

Deicing is a tough activity, but it’s doubly challenging if you have not stocked up on salt. There are four types of salts used for deicing purposes. Rock salt (sodium chloride) is the most common choice. Rock salt releases the highest level of chloride upon use, so large quantities should be avoided. Chloride is known for damaging both metal and concrete. Too much chloride can also pollute lakes, streams, and rivers.

The second type is calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is commercially sold as white pellets. Do not use this with your bare hands. Any moisture on bare hands can result in irritation and possible injury. Large concentrations of this deicing salt are known to damage concrete.

The third type of deicing salt is potassium chloride.  Fortunately, this deicer does not harm vegetation and will not harm your skin. This deicer will only work if the temperature is above 15°F. If you want, you can combine potassium chloride with other chemicals (or plain water), so it can melt ice at a lower temperature. Because it is mostly non-toxic, we recommend its use.

The fourth type is magnesium chloride. This salt is a newcomer, and it works at temperatures up to -13°F. Magnesium chloride is environmentally kinder because it produces 40% less chloride.

You may have read somewhere the fertilizers can also serve as deicing agents. Any deicing agent with ammonia can damage concrete. The same applies to deicers with nitrates. It might work, but at what cost?

Invest in Digital Thermostats – and New Batteries  

We can’t emphasize this enough. Renters should have access to accurate digital thermostats during winter. Battery-operated thermostats are fine –make sure that your thermostats have new batteries. If the batteries die in the dead of winter, your renters won’t have access to heating, and plumbing will eventually freeze. Battery replacements twice a year is a good practice. When you change your clocks for DS, change the batteries.

Perform Tree Inspections

The weight of snow and hardened ice can bring down small and large branches alike. A cubic foot of snow can weigh up to twenty pounds. Cut down tree limbs that can potentially crack and fall on someone during winter. Preparedness means preventing accidents as much as possible.



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