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Winterizing a Vacant Home During Frigid Weather

Man Wrapping Pipes in a North Port Rental PropertyRental properties that are exposed to frigid temperatures are exposed to hazards, as well — especially when it’s a property that’s vacant. If yours is a rental property that has been or will be sitting empty, you should look to winterize it properly, 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. So how does one winterize a vacant rental property for it to withstand winter’s deep freeze? Here’s how to do exactly that.

Leave the Heat On

The first step to winterize your rental property is to leave the heat on. Naturally, it makes sense to want to turn it off in order to save on utilities. However, it will cost you more to have to repair a flooded home from burst pipes because there was no heating in the 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

Frozen pipes can be very challenging to deal with; so, the wise thing to do before you leave them vacant in cold temperatures is to drain them and insulate them properly. Start by draining and detaching any garden hoses on the outside, and wrap your exterior hose bibs with insulation. Make sure you drain out your sprinkler system so that you can prevent any potential 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

Checking your gutters and your roof is a key step in preparing your vacant rental property for the cold season. 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. When it seeps in and freezes, it will expand and destroy the structure. That’s why it’s wise to have your gutters cleaned and drained properly, and your roof made weather-tight.

Trim Trees & Shrubs

To end, 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. Look for woodpiles or any other objects touching the house — they also need to be moved. 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. You don’t want to find yourself handling a broken window, a damaged roof, or even a pest infestation — especially not when the temperatures are freezing. 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 Sarasota & Manatee, 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 North Port property managers by calling 941-225-8185.

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