The Landlord’s Winter Survival Guide: 10 Tips to Keep Your Property Safe from Frozen Pipes
As a landlord, it’s important to take steps to protect your rental property from the potential damages that can be caused by freezing pipes. Not only can frozen pipes lead to costly repairs, but they can also cause water-related damage to your property. While it’s always a good idea to educate your tenants on the importance of properly insulating pipes and taking preventative measures to protect against freezing, there may be instances where you can’t rely on your tenants to do so. In these cases, it’s important to have tenant-proof freeze protection measures in place to ensure that your property is protected, even if your tenants aren’t taking the necessary precautions. Here are ten ways to protect your rental property’s pipes from freezing:
- Insulate exposed pipes: If you have any pipes that are exposed to the elements, make sure they are properly insulated. This can be done with foam pipe insulation, which is easy to install and relatively inexpensive.
- Use heat tape: Heat tape is a type of electrical heating element that can be wrapped around pipes to prevent freezing. It’s important to use UL-listed heat tape, as it has been tested and approved for use.
- Install a pipe heating system: A pipe heating system is a more comprehensive solution for protecting against freezing pipes. These systems use electrical heating elements to keep the water in your pipes at a constant temperature, even in extreme cold weather.
- Use a pipe insulation blanket: A pipe insulation blanket is a type of insulation that can be wrapped around pipes to keep them warm. These blankets are easy to install and can be cut to fit any size pipe.
- Install a frost-free hydrant: Frost-free hydrants have a longer spout that extends beyond the frost line, preventing the valve from freezing. These hydrants can be a good option for properties with outdoor faucets that are prone to freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to a consistent temperature: By keeping the thermostat set to a consistent temperature, you can help prevent pipes from freezing. It’s important to keep the temperature above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when the property is unoccupied.
- Close off crawl spaces: Crawl spaces can be a common source of freezing pipes, as they are often poorly insulated and prone to drafts. By sealing off crawl spaces and adding insulation, you can help protect against freezing pipes.
- Disconnect garden hoses: When the weather turns cold, it’s important to disconnect any garden hoses from outdoor faucets. If the hose is left connected, the water inside can freeze and cause the faucet or pipe to burst.
- Install a water alarm: A water alarm is a device that sounds an alert when it detects water. By installing a water alarm near your pipes, you can be alerted to any potential issues before they turn into major problems.
- Consider hiring a professional: If you’re not comfortable taking on these tasks yourself, consider hiring a professional to help with the installation and maintenance of freeze protection measures. A professional plumber can assess your property and recommend the best solutions for protecting against freezing pipes.
By taking these tenant-proof freeze protection measures, you can help protect your rental property against the costly damages that can be caused by freezing pipes. While it’s always a good idea to educate your tenants on the importance of proper insulation and freeze protection, these measures can give you peace of mind that your property is protected, even if your tenants aren’t taking the necessary precautions.