What is it and should you be doing it to your home?
Winterization is the process of making your home ready to handle freezing temperatures. Here in the Southwest, it usually means making sure your pipes won’t freeze and that your evaporative cooler has been shut down properly. If you live anywhere where the temperature will drop below 32*F you should be prepared… winter is coming. Here is a list of things that should be addressed before the first freeze and who is responsible if this is a rental property managed by We Rent Homes El Paso.
- Make sure all pipes on the exterior of the home are properly insulated. When temperatures drop below freezing, un-insulated water pipes can freeze, making the water in them expand and possibly bursting the pipe open. When the water then thaws you have a pretty serious mess—and a potentially expensive problem—on your hands. Foam pipe insulation and foam spigot covers are available at any home improvement store and will help prevent this. If you can see it and reach it, cover it! This is a TENANT responsibility.
- Keep a faucet or two dripping if you’ll be away and you think the temperature drop below freezing. Burst pipes are the result of pressure building up between the blockage (the frozen water inside the pipe) and the faucet. Having a release point helps to alleviate the pressure build up. This is a TENANT responsibility.
- Keep the heat on if you’ll be out of the house. It may not seem “green” or economical, but keeping the heat on to at least 50*F can help avoid burst pipes. It is also a lot less expensive than dealing with a flood in your home if a pipe does freeze while you are away. This is a TENANT responsibility.
- Keep interior doors and cabinet doors under sinks open if you’re leaving the home for an extended period of time. This will help heat travel from room to room and will allow heat to access to some of the exposed interior pipes. This is a TENANT responsibility.
- Evaporative Coolers:
- Winterization of an evaporative cooler usually entails one or more of the following steps: unplugging the unit, turning off the water supply, draining water from the lines, draining and cleaning the pan and leaving it open in case of winter rains, possibly installing new pads to avoid rusting the louvers, installing the damper to prevent cold air from entering the home, and installing a unit cover. Winterization of an evaporative cooler ensures that it will work properly come spring and summer. It will also make it more efficient and last years longer, saving you money.
- Shutting down an evaporative cooler properly is a MUST. If you are renting a home from We Rent Homes El Paso, it is required that the winterization be completed by a licensed HVAC technician. This is a TENANT responsibility.
- We recommend turning on your furnace on a cool fall morning, instead of waiting until the first cold front hits, to ensure your furnace is working properly. If you wait until everyone else is turning on their furnaces, and the furnace is malfunctioning, you can be sure to have a longer wait time in getting it repaired. Being proactive will keep you warm all winter long!
- Change your furnace filter. This should be done prior to starting up your furnace to ensure there is enough air flow to the unit. Clogged air filters can seriously damage a furnace and cause major repair bills. Filters should be checked and changed at least once a month. This is a TENANT responsibility.
- Unblock any vents. If vents are covered the unit can overheat causing it to malfunction or break. Be sure that all vents are clear of debris and blockages. This is a TENANT responsibility.
- Take necessary precautions to prevent the freezing of pipes, pool equipment, and pool water. In most cases, just keeping the pool pump on and running during the cold months is enough to keep pool equipment from freezing. This is a TENANT responsibility.
- If you plan to shut down the pool completely, it takes a little more time and effort. Winterizing a pool usually entails one or more of the following steps: balancing the water chemistry, removing all items from the pool, cleaning the pool thoroughly, lowering the water level, draining all equipment including but not limited to pumps, filters, chlorinating devices and heating devices, emptying out all plumbing of water running to and from the pool, and covering the pool. If you decide to take this route, you may want to hire a professional to avoid any damage.
The topics covered above are just a few examples of ways to winterize your home. If you live in a colder climate, or will be leaving the property vacant for an extended period of time, additional steps may be necessary in order to ensure your home is protected from the elements.
For We Rent Homes El Paso tenants, we are here to help you avoid unnecessary maintenance and repair expenses while protecting your security deposit. Negligence, carelessness, accident and abuse are no excuse for winter-related home damage. If you have any questions related to preparing your home for the upcoming winter months, please call us at (915) 585-8217. We can help you navigate this process with information and vendor recommendations that will keep you in compliance with your lease.
Stay warm this winter!