Keep Your Cool with these Four Winterization Tips
By Jeff Watson, The Home Depot
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As the fall season concludes, now is the ideal time to start winterization projects that can protect your investment properties and keep costs down during the coldest months of the year.
Whether you’re in the middle of a remodel or prepping for proactive maintenance, here are four tips for your winter weatherization checklist.
1. Don’t Hesitate to Insulate
It’s estimated that 25% of a home’s heat is lost through the attic, and this is especially true of older properties. One of the best ways to keep the heating unit running longer and more efficiently is to add an extra layer of insulation to help offset cold temperatures and brisk winds that can make it work harder than it needs to.
Start by inspecting the attic. If you notice areas with more than one inch of the floor joist exposed, it’s probably a good idea to add another layer of quality insulation from a top-rated brand like Owens Corning. Installing insulation yourself isn’t a daunting project. With the right tools, it’s a manageable job that can be finished relatively quickly.
The Home Depot Rental Center can help you take on the task with a fiberglass blower that’s ideal for attic insulation. The first day’s rental is free with the purchase of 10 or more bags of insulation.
2. Seal it up
Doors, windows and other small openings can also contribute to inefficient temperature control. While it may not seem like much, those mini escape routes for heat can add up – especially during winter’s peak months. Look closely around the property for new cracks or openings and take the necessary steps to address them now. Sometimes it’s as easy as a quick caulking job or replacing weather stripping to make sure the cold stays out and the heat stays in.
However, draft-proofing your property is a bigger task should it require window replacement. It’s a good idea to have windows thoroughly inspected for efficiency, especially if they were at all drafty last winter. While replacement may not be ideal, the upfront costs are worth the energy savings in the long-term.
The Home Depot’s local, licensed service professionals are experts at window replacement and installation to help you get the job done. Their service is backed with a lifetime craftsmanship warranty, along with a wide range of affordable financing options to choose from.
3. Water Heater Check-up
There’s never a good time for a water heater go out, but things become a bit more complicated during the winter. Now is the time to check it to make sure it’s in good shape. Look for any leaks or rust around the unit. That’s a good indication to contact a professional to determine if it needs to be repaired or replaced. It’s also a good idea to check the temperature and pressure relief valve to ensure it, too, is leak-proof with no corrosion on the pipes or valve stem.
The Home Depot has the tools and parts needed for a repair as well as a wide assortment of new water heater options from trusted brands. Rheem offers a high-efficiency electric water heater that’s four times more efficient than a standard water heater. The brand also features a tankless water heater with the ability to reduce energy loss by only operating when needed to heat water. And remember: Bulk pricing and next day onsite delivery are both available for Pro customers.
4. Be ‘Smart’
Because you can’t always be at your investment properties, smart home products are one of the best ways to stay connected, even from afar. When synched up to a mobile device, you can receive real-time alerts that enable you to address problems proactively, instead of waiting for a middle-of-the-night call from a tenant.
When a property is empty, you can have greater control over things like the thermostat and water heater to keep utility costs low. Ecobee’s smart thermostat with voice control and temperature optimization can help save up to 23 percent annually on heating or cooling costs.
When it comes to lighting, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that LED bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. Remote LED lights can be programmed to turn on and off at various times to give the appearance of someone living there.
Staying ahead of repairs and replacements during the winter months is key to maintaining your property and keeping costs down. By properly insulating, sealing drafts, checking the water heater and installing the latest home technology, you’ll drastically increase the probability of an issue-free winter across your investment properties.
Designed by professionals for professionals, Pro Xtra is The Home Depot’s loyalty program that helps you save money, manage your spending and grow your business. In addition to the program’s standard benefits, National REIA members also receive a two percent annual rebate, 20 percent off paints and primers, volume pricing and more. It’s free to join, so check it out and get started today.
Jeff Watson is the Director of National Sales for The Home Depot and supports organizations including the National Real Estate Investors Association.