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Winterizing a Vacant Home During Frigid Weather

Man Wrapping Pipes in a Clawson Rental PropertyFrigid temperatures can be a hazard for any rental property, but definitely, this applies in particular to vacant properties during the coldest times of the year. If you have a rental property that will be sitting bare, even for just a few days, it’s vital to winterize it properly. If temperatures drop and the property isn’t eligible, you could end up with burst pipes, a leaking roof, or any number of cold-weather headaches. In subsequent paragraphs, we’ll tackle how (and why) to properly winterize a vacant rental property so that it can withstand winter’s deep freeze.

Leave the Heat On

One of the first moves you should execute to winterize your rental property is leaving the heat on. It might be alluring to shut it off and save a few dollars on utilities. But take note, the fee for clearing up a flooded home when your pipes burst will be a lot more than heating your rental for a few months. You don’t really need to leave the heat on full blast, but on the other hand, it should be warm enough on the inside of the house to aid in keeping your pipes from freezing over.

Drain and Insulate Your Pipes

Considering frozen pipes all too often give rise to big messes, it’s crucial to take special attention to draining and insulating them properly before ever leaving a house vacant in cold temperatures. Commence by draining and detaching any garden hoses on the outside, and wrap your exterior hose bibs with insulation. You should equally have your landscaper drain your sprinkler system if you have one, which can help prevent leaks underground. Inside the house, wrap any exposed pipes – in particular those in the basement or attic – with insulation or spray with foam.

Clean Gutters and Inspect the Roof

Another necessary task that you should bring about to winterize your vacant rental property is to clean and check your gutters and roof. Besides plumbing, the gutters and the roof of your rental property are the probable culprits of cold-weather misfortunes. Clogged gutters or missing shingles can give rise to water seeping into the attic and walls and gathering around the house’s foundation. If that water then freezes, it will expand and damage the structure. Alternatively, it’s ideal to have your gutters cleaned and drained properly and your roof weather-tight.

Trim Trees & Shrubs

On a final note, one last labor you should perform to winterize your vacant rental property is to trim back any tree branches or shrubs that are touching or overhanging the house. You should furthermore move any woodpiles or other objects touching the house. Branches too close to the house can cause dilemmas, from clogging up your gutters with leaves to breaking and falling on the house during a storm. Woodpiles invite pests and insects, which may transfer indoors when things get absolutely cold. In freezing temperatures, the last thing you need to deal with is a broken window, a damaged roof, or a pest infestation. In addition, these items can be used by your insurance company to deny any claims you may file.


Winterizing a vacant rental property can be a time-consuming though crucial task. But you don’t have to do it alone. At Real Property Management Advantage, we successfully help rental property owners like you keep their rentals ready for whatever Mother Nature may bring. To learn more, talk with one of our Clawson property managers by calling 248-259-2575.

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