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Winterizing a Vacant Home During Frigid Weather

Man Wrapping Pipes in a Charlotte Rental PropertyRental properties that are exposed to frigid temperatures are exposed to hazards, as well — especially when it’s a property that’s vacant. 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. If you want to know how to properly winterize a vacant rental property so that it can handle winter’s deep freeze, keep reading.

Leave the Heat On

A key step to winterizing your rental property is to leave the heat on. Of course, it seems like the right thing to do is to turn it off so as to save on utilities. The problem, though, is that it will be far more costly when the pipes burst and flood the home because there was no heating. 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. 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

Last but not the least, what you can 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. 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. Woodpiles are a haven for pests and insects. When it gets too cold, though, they might ditch the pile to move 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. 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 Experts, 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 Charlotte property managers by calling 704-220-0110.

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