When I was younger and winter was approaching, I looked forward to hockey, skiing, and snowball fights. Now the focus has turned to winter proofing, economizing, and taking pre-emptive measures to ensure my investment properties are running smoothly and yielding the best returns. Whether you hire a Property Management company in Toronto or grab hold of the reins yourself, you need to think about preparing your investment property for the cold weather ahead. Heat Loss: Most homes experience some form of heating loss when it comes to heat escaping from doors and drafts. If your investment property is not metered and utilities are part of your operating expenses, your heating bill can seriously impact your cash flow. Weather-stripping around windows and doors to eliminate drafts is a very inexpensive solution. In addition, you can use caulking on gaps where heat can be lost. Heating Systems: It is recommended to have your heating systems inspected on an annual basis to ensure they are operating adequately. Depending on your heating system, you would need to carry out different forms of servicing. Simply bleeding your radiators, and audit valves for leaks can be done in minutes. If your system is electric, make sure you clean your baseboard heaters to get rid of dust. Vacuuming air ducts is a must if you have a forced air system. Even changing filters wouldn’t hurt. If you have a fireplace, get a professional to service it to ensure there is no smoke flowing back in your property. If your boiler or furnace is nearing its end, consider upgrading to a high efficiency system or a combo unit (one that is tankless). In the long run, a high efficiency unit can save you considerably. Eaves troughs: Cleaning your eaves troughs every year should be part of your winter preparation. With a cost as low as $40, you may be saving hundreds on roof repairs when ice accumulates and water leaks in. Avoid Unwelcome Guests: These guests come in the form of mice, rats, squirrels or even bats. By sealing any small holes from the outside of your house both on the roof or walls can save you aggravation and cost. Remind your tenants that their doors and windows without screens should not be opened long periods of time and they will likely be happier when they don’t have pests moving in. Insulate the Roof and Walls at a minimum: A great way to keep your heating bill down is to insulate your roof and walls as heat predominantly escapes from these areas of the house. It is easy to see which house on your street is not adequately insulated, just look to see if there is any snow on them. If there is no snow, then you can bet that the insulation is quite poor. Have a back-up plan: As reliable as your furnace might be, you can never be 100% sure you won’t have a breakdown. In the event of an emergency, you need a back up plan if your heating and cooling vendors are unable to immediately accommodate you in the time of need. Your tenants will be much more understanding if you provide them heaters in minus 30 degree temperature while you await for the technician. Winterizing your investment property can be simple or, in the case of increasing the insulation in the attic, more extensive. Anything that helps “green” your house and save energy might qualify for government grants. Currently, programs in Ontario can be reviewed at Either way, take the steps to combat the cold weather by winter proofing your investment property…and you will save and sleep better at night. Mekler Property Management offers property management services in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information please visit us at www.Mekler.ca – We help you be a landlord without being the landlord!