Extreme cold across the U.S. puts rental houses at risk of frozen pipes

Landlords, beware! If you don’t take action to protect your rental house from frozen pipes, you may experience costly damage that could cause you to displace your tenants temporarily, or worse, permanently.

Places where frozen pipes may occur:

  • Those directly exposed to extreme cold like those found outdoors (i.e. hose lines and swimming pool pipes)
  • Supply lines in unheated areas of the home like cellars, cabinetry, attics, and garages
  • Pipes that aren’t properly insulated along the outside walls of the home

Preventing frozen pipes in your rental house

In order to reduce the risk of cold-weather incidents, you should take the following precautions:

For an empty rental house:

    1. Keep the heat set to at least 55 degrees (or higher if your property is up north) at all times
    2. Shut off water at the supply line or street
    3. Drain and properly winterize plumbing

For an occupied rental house:

    1. Insulate pipes on outside walls, in crawl spaces, and in the attic
    2. Leave cabinets open so that warm air can circulate around the pipes beneath any sinks & appliances
    3. Let warm water drip through the night

How to thaw frozen pipes

Sometimes, no matter what precautions you take, you’ll experience frozen pipes.  Most of the time it’s a combination of the extreme cold combined with out-dated or incorrectly installed supply lines.  If you suspect a pipe is freezing, it’s critical to get your pipes thawed out quickly or you could have a real (wet) mess on your hands.  Try these using these tips:

  1. Open your faucets, even just a drip, and keep them open so that when water flow returns, any ice left within the pipes will melt
  2. Heat any pipes you suspect may be frozen using a hair dryer, a heating pad, or a portable heater
  3. Call a licensed plumber to thaw any pipes you cannot reach or you cannot thaw yourself

The best way to prevent frozen pipes is preparation. By being proactive about preventing frozen pipes in your rental house, you can prevent thousands of dollars in damage and a great deal of unnecessary stress.

EquityTeam uses experienced vendors in the Cincinnati area to reduce the risk of frozen pipes.  For more on our Property Management services call 513-444-4010.