How to Winterize Your Vacant Listing
For any home to remain in good shape throughout the coldest winter months, it requires regular preventive measures and attention. This is especially true when it comes to maintaining your vacant listing, as these are particularly prone to winter weather damage during our extended periods of freezing temperatures.
Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to winterize your vacant property in order to best protect your investment and avoid a great deal of hassle down the road. Let’s take a look at some of these tips:
Call Your Plumber
Bringing in a trusted professional to winterize your property’s pipes and water system is absolutely vital. A plumber will be able to give the property a thorough checkup from the inside out to see if there any problem areas, like cracks and leaks, before winterizing it. They will then drain all areas where water may be sitting or stored using an air compressor to expel it from all of your system’s pipes. This step is key, as any sitting water can freeze, and freezing pipes can burst – you don’t want that mess! Removal of all water also means that you don’t have to heat the property to prevent freezing. This way, your pipes are protected, and you get the added bonus of saving on utility costs.
While you’re draining all lines, don’t forget to drain all outdoor garden hoses as well. Again, if sitting water freezes, the hoses and the connecting spigots can burst.
Seal Up All Possible Entry Points
When closing up for the season, be sure to seal all openings into the house as well. This includes things like vents, crawl spaces, chimneys, etc. The last thing you want is for some creature or insect to turn your vacant property into an occupied shelter.
Disconnect the Gas Supply
Before closing up, be sure to talk to the gas company about stopping service. Let them know that the property is vacant and ask them to disconnect the gas supply. This is incredibly important because if a gas leak were to occur, no one would know until it was too late.
Free Gutters of Debris
Check, clean and repair gutters where necessary. They should be properly attached the house so that they funnel water away from the roof, siding and foundation. If they are not properly in place, water can collect and freeze, and the weight of the ice can rip the gutter completely off the home. If this happens, it can damage the siding and even lead to potential ice hazards where water collects at the base of the property.
Remove Anything Touching the Sides
You’re going to want to remove anything and everything that is touching the side of your property. This includes everything from leaves and limbs, to firewood and debris, even shrubbery and landscaping, as both water and insects can accumulate in/on all of these and wreak all kinds of damage.
Trim Overhanging Trees
Ice accumulation is heavy, and when it accumulates on trees, limbs break and can cause a great deal of damage. Do a little Fall landscaping maintenance, and remove any potentially hazardous tree branches that may touch the house or hang too closely.
By taking all of these preventive measures to winterize your vacant listing, your chances of coming out with your investment in tact come Spring should put a smile on your face. Just be sure to check on the property from time to time during the long winter months, and double check that everything is in top shape to make sure that your asset remains an asset.
Are you hoping to sell your home during the colder months? If so, know that it is not impossible, and I would love to help! Contact me today to get started.