With fall approaching, now is the time to get your apartment ready for colder temperatures. A little preparation around and in your apartment will help reduce your heating costs and keep your tenants nice and cozy all season. These tips will help you know just what to do to prepare for colder weather.
Get Things in Order
First things first, you need to be aware of the areas of your rental property that will likely need a little extra attention to deal with the chill. These areas are your windows and doors, your garage, your gutters, your attic and your driveway.
You may need to gather some materials once you determine which areas need attention. You will need a ladder and a level. Depending on the setup of the building, you may also need adhesive foam, acrylic latex, concrete patching compound and tri-polymer elastomeric sealant for caulking. Check the areas to see what you are dealing with and then make a quick trip to the hardware store.
Windows and Doors
Chances are pretty good that your windows and doors will let cooler air in and make your building colder during the months to come. Check each window and door in your home with one of these simple tests to determine where the air leaks are.
Use weather-stripping foam to seal your windows. Simply apply it to the bottom of the sash. Be sure to do this to all windows to make sure they are fully sealed. Then use the same foam strips around the sides and tops of the doors. Deal with the gap at the bottom of the door by using a door sweep.
Since the garage doesn’t have the same insulation as your house, it will get colder when the temperature drops. You won’t be heating it anyway, so that’s not a worry. However, a garage that isn’t properly sealed will let in moisture that can prove to be trouble for your home.
Inspect your garage door for signs of damage or gaps that could let in moisture. The weather seal on the bottom of your garage door is replaceable, so you should install a new one if yours is showing any signs of wear.
Next comes your gutters. You may not think of them as trouble areas – other than their annoying ability to collect leaves and get clogged. However, if your gutters aren’t level, they can overflow and allow water to enter your basement.
Your gutter should have a pitch between one-sixteenth and one-eighth of an inch. You can check the pitch by grabbing your ladder and a level. Hold the level even with your gutter and observe. To make the job go quicker, on longer strips of gutters, you can add water with your garden hose and observe how the water flows.
If your gutters need any work to keep them in top shape to get through winter, plan a day one weekend soon and take care of them.
If you have an attic in your rental, you need to make sure it won’t be letting in cool air or leaks during the cold months. You need to check your attic on two different days: a nice, sunny day and a rainy day.
On the sunny day, go up to your attic when the sun is shining bright and look for any spots of light that is coming through. On the rainy day, check the attic for leaks.
Fill any gaps you found letting light or rain in from the inside of the attic with closed-cell polyurethane foam. If you have small leaks elsewhere, fill them by caulking tri-polymer elastomeric sealant into the holes. You should have larger leaks repaired by a professional before winter comes.
You also need to inspect the insulation in your attic. You shouldn’t be able to see the top of your roof joists. If you do, you need to add a layer of insulation.
Driveway and Sidewalks
Any area outside your rental that has concrete should be checked for cracks. If the crack is smaller than half an inch wide, you can fill it with acrylic latex concrete compound and smooth it out with a putty knife.
If the crack is larger, you need to use a concrete patching compound and a trowel. Be sure to let it dry for 24 hours before walking on it and three days before driving over it so the patch has time to seal.
This may look like a lot to deal with, but if you go through the list one-by-one during a weekend or two, you will have all of it taken care of and won’t have to worry about cold weather. The good news is that all of these steps will protect your rental property, reduce your heating costs and prevent damage that leads to costly repairs.
Author Bio: This article was written exclusively for Rentometer by Megan Wild. Megan Wild is a real estate and home improvement blogger who writes about easy ways that you can fix up rentals or your home. When she’s not sanding her next project, she’s found walking her dog, Tucker.
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