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Winterizing a Vacant Home During Frigid Weather

Man Wrapping Pipes in a Mamaroneck Rental PropertyFrigid temperatures are bad for any rental property; but, it’s especially bad for the properties that are vacant during these cold seasons. If you happen to have a rental property that you know will be sitting empty for a while, it’s best to winterize it as soon as possible. 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. The following will be a quick guide to how you can properly winterize a vacant rental property so that it can withstand 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. 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. To prevent any leaks underground caused by sprinkler systems, always drain them prior to vacancy and the cold weather. 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. And if that water freezes, it will expand and wreck 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. 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 need during these freezing temperatures is having 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 DePenn, 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 Mamaroneck property managers by calling 866-820-9913.

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