Winter is here to stay! Here’s all you need to know about heating: 

  • How to avoid bursting pipes. Freezing is one of two most common causes of bursting pipes, which could lead to extensive water damage in your rented property.
  • Tips on how to save money on your rental’s heating bill. Did you know you could lose up to 25% of your rental’s heat due to air leaks and cold drafts?

 

1.    Avoid bursting pipes by heating your rental 

Look out for freezing temperatures 

Cold weather is one of the most common causes of leaking or bursting pipes.
The water in your rental’s pipes will expand as it turns into ice. The pressure on the pipes will increase until they’ll burst. This usually causes significant water damage, which is the first reason for landlords to claim on their insurance. 

When you’re in charge of your rental’s heating

The easiest way to avoid bursting pipes is to keep your rental’s minimum heating on between 12°C (53°F) to 15°C (59°F) at all times. Even if your rental is momentarily vacant, whether it’s because you’re looking for new tenants or doing some renovations before renting out again.

Your obligation to provide an adequate ambient temperature 

A comfortable room temperature during daytime is somewhere 18°C (64°F) and 21°C (70°F). While at night, it can easily be 2°C to 4°C lower. Most of the cities bylaws recommend similar temperatures. Read more about the rules about rentals’ temperatures.

Talk to your tenants about maintaining the heat 

The instinct of many tenants, especially the less experienced ones like students, is to shut off the heating when they’re out of town to save a few dollars on their bill. Avoid your tenant giving you an emergency call on Sunday night because the apartment is flooded. 

  • When signing the lease, remind your tenants that it is their duty to maintain sufficient heating to prevent any damage to the rental.
  • Be specific: let them know that they must keep the temperature between 12°C (53°F) to 15°C (59°F) when they’re away. Obviously, this kind of requirement is easier to implement once you’ve established a good relationship with your tenants. Read here our 10 tips.

Don’t forget your rental’s unheated areas

For your rental’s basement, garage or attic, you should also consider:

  • Insulating your pipes,
  • Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather, 
  • Draining your taps.

If you couldn’t prevent a water loss

Don’t panic, you can rely on APRIL’s water damage coverage. Consider Rental value protection in the event of a significant loss that would oblige your tenants to temporarly move out for the time of the repairs, leaving you without rents to collect. To report a claim, please contact us.

 

2.    Get greatest savings on your rental’s heating bill 

Face the facts

Heating accounts for up to 63% of the energy bill, while 19% is for water heating; according to Natural Resources Canada. Read our 5 tips to make significant savings on your rented property’s heating bill.

Insulate your rental 

You might be losing up to 25% of your rental’s heat due to air leaks and cold drafts.

  • Walk around your rented property to check windows and doors with a candle to see it flickers due to air infiltrations, then seal them with caulking.
  • Put up plastic film over your windows. It’s easy and cheap to do!
  • Insulate your rental’s attic, garage door, unfinished basement, light switches, pipe penetration points or any other openings.

In addition to this, insulate your tank as well as your hot water pipes to save up to 20% of your water heating bill. Or even better, install a tankless water heater.

Do a makeover to your rental 

  • Compare the different heating systems available, you can save up to 60% if you switch from electric baseboards to a geothermal system.
  • Upgrade your windows for better insulation and save between 12% to 33% annually.
  • Cut down water usage by 3 times thanks to more efficient shower heads, aerators on faucets, low or dual-flush toilet

Maintain your rental’s heating system

At the beginning of autumn, ask your tenant permission to access your rented property to do an annual check of the heating system:

  • Clean the furnace before turning it on so it will function efficiently.
  • Remove any furniture or item that could obstruct the circulation of warm air around heaters.

Raise your tenants’ awareness

Engage your tenants in a discussion around energy saving including:

  • Opening the curtains during the day to let the sun heat the rental
  • Closing them at sunset to keep the warmth inside. 
  • Closing doors of empty rooms to avoid the cold air from circulating.
  • Lowering the thermostat by 2 degrees.