Cold Weather Prep: How to Winterize Your Vacation Rental in Gatlinburg

Winter is upon us! As the falling leaves turn to falling snowflakes, now is a good time to focus on winter home maintenance – inspections, heating system checks, and protecting pipes from freezing.


Inspecting Your Insulation provides a DIY inspection checklist. While this may be something that your property manager assists you with, it’s good to know what they will be looking for and why. 

The checklist suggest that you check your:

  • Attic insulation: This requires your physical presence in the attic. You can either read the R value printed on the batts of your insulation, or measure the depth.  Insulation’s heat resistance is measured by its R-value. The letter “R” stands for “resistance”. It refers to the materials resistance to heat flow or temperature conduction. 
  • Wall insulation level: This can be done by removing an outlet cover – shine a flashlight into the crack around the outlet box. This will allow you to see how much and what type of insulation is in your walls. 
  • Air leaks: Begin this inspection by visually looking for cracks and gaps at common leak points. If you find any leak points you’ll want to make a place to fill them with things like weather stripping or insulating foam. 


Inspecting Your Roof and Gutters

It’s important to inspect your roof and gutters to ensure that they are in optimal shape. 

Roofing repairs can be expensive. Time inspections allow you to fix problems before they arise. 

You’ll want to be on the lookout for 

  • Leaves and debris
  • Potential ice dams 
  • Water Damage
  • Missing or damaged shingles


Heating System Maintenance

Scheduling regular professional inspections allow you to ensure your heating systems are operating efficiently and safely.

There are a few things you can do yourself to ensure that your heating system has optimal performance. 

  • Regularly clean or change filters 
  • Ensure all vents are unobstructed 
  • Install a smart thermostat to help maintain a comfortable temperature at all times 


Protecting Pipes from Freezing

Before the winter freeze arrives it’s important to inspect and protect your pipes from freezing. There are a  few simple steps you can take to do so:

  • Inspect pipes to unheated areas – think, basement, attics, and near exterior walls that are most at risk for freezing 
  • Insulate the pipes that are frozen or could potentially freeze 

There are a few things you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing, other than insulating them! 

  • Keep the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature at all times 
  • Consider leaving cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate if you will not be in the home for an extended period.


Winterizing your short term rental allows you to protect your investment, ensure that your guests are comfortable, and avoid potential costly maintenance!