As property management pros, we’re accustomed to helping our owners and tenants in any way we can. One way to help is to assist our customers with winter-proofing their properties – and making sure their rentals are prepared for cold weather. We haven’t had really cold weather yet, but winter is still very young – and anything can happen in January and February. To prepare your units – whether you own one or rent one – here are tips you can follow and projects you can start today. Tend to Your Furnace A unit’s furnace will go into overtime during cold winter months. You can help prevent nasty surprises by keeping your furnaces updated and free of debris and clogged filters. Change your furnace filters once a month, and check the furnace for signs of clogs, debris, and anything that can interfere with its function. If you have to replace a furnace, it’s best to do it early. Plus, you may be able to qualify for a tax credit worth $150 if you install an oil, natural gas, or propane furnace. Check for Drafts Drafts are like vampires that can suck five to 30 percent of your unit’s energy use during the winter. You want to minimize the impact of drafts as much as possible. Check for drafts along baseboards, windows, doors, and junctions between the walls and ceilings. Consider purchasing new thresholds and rubber weatherstripping for windows. Reverse Your Fans This is one of the easier tips you can follow, but one that has a big impact. If you have ceiling fans that allow you to reverse direction, do it – it can save you as much as 10 percent of your total energy cost by directing warm air down toward the floor instead of allowing it to pool on the ceiling. Insulate Your Windows Did you know that you can insulate your windows to save even more in energy costs? It’s true – and it is very cheap. For a few dollars, you can buy a windows insulating kit that basically helps you apply a thin layer of plastic to your windows. By spending a bit more, you can get a film that accomplishes the same purpose. Both are nearly invisible and will help cut down energy costs. No matter if you’re an owner looking to make your units a bit more comfortable for your tenants, or a renter who wants to cut down on utilities, these tips can get you started.