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Winterizing a Vacant Home During Frigid Weather

Man Wrapping Pipes in a Detroit Rental PropertyAny rental property will face hazards in frigid temperatures, but this is especially true for the properties that are vacant during the cold. 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. 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

To properly winterize your rental property, don’t forget to leave the heat on. It can be tempting to want to turn it off so as to save money on utilities. However, you run the risk of flooding your home when the pipes burst because the heating in your rental was off. 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

Another key detail to preparing your vacant rental property for the cold is to check your gutters and your roof. Plumbing can be a sore issue to deal with; but, if left unattended, the gutter and roof of your rental property might even cause more problems related to the cold weather! Clogged gutters or missing shingles can cause water to seep into the attic and walls and gather around the house’s foundation. If that water is allowed to freeze, it will expand, and it will destroy the structure that it is in. So, in order to avoid that, make sure you clean your gutters and drain them properly, and weather-tight your roof.

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. Woodpiles or other objects touching the house should be moved, as well. Any cluster of branches too close to the house will cause problems like clogging up your gutters with leaves, or even breaking and falling on the house during a storm. Pests and insects are attracted to woodpiles. But, they can easily move indoors when the cold comes. The last thing you need during these freezing temperatures is having to deal with a broken window, a damaged roof, or a pest infestation. And, if you decide to make claims with your insurance company, they could deny you based on their knowledge of these issues.


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 Main, 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 Detroit property managers by calling 248-852-6204.

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