winterize your vacation rental

October is a time of transitions. As the leaves shed their green coats in favor of yellows, oranges, and reds, we find ourselves grabbing our own coats or perhaps a warm pumpkin spice latte. In the world of vacation rentals, guests are trading their sunscreen and flip flops for rain boots or skis.

When that crispness in the air arrives, it’s time to switch gears in your home as well—it’s time to winterize!  When I think of winterizing, there are two avenues that strike me as important. We can add warmth quite literally by paying attention to some basic home efficiency steps, a few of which are highlighted below. But we can also add metaphorical warmth through intentional design elements in the home. Both approaches will benefit you—with lower bills through the cold season and guests who fall in love with your home’s extra-cozy touches.

Here are a few logistical tips to prepare your home for winter that your local Vacasa team can help you with:

  • Check furnace filters and replace if needed. Disposable filters should be replaced once a month when the heat is running. Consider switching to a permanent filter to trap more debris and produce less waste.
  • Reverse ceiling fans. While a counterclockwise rotation produces a cooling breeze, running blades clockwise circulates warmer air from near the ceiling back into the room.
  • Turn down the water heater. Most are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit by default, but turning it down to 120 degrees can save 6-10% in heating bills during colder months.
  • Install storm doors/windows. This alone can increase energy efficiency by 45% by sealing drafts and reducing the flow of cold air into the house.
  • Apply caulking and/or weather-stripping. Close up energy-sapping leaks, which are especially common in areas where two different materials meet.
  • Seal ducts. Ducts can let 10-30% of heated air escape! Sealing them off also protects the home against mold and dust.
  • Insulate pipes. Insulation can lower your costs for hot water and also decrease the risk of freezing pipes.

And here are some ideas on how to create a sense of warmth inside to welcome your winter guests:

  • Add knits wherever you can. Sweater weather is here! Bring that same coziness to your interiors with cozy blankets, pillows, and ottomans.
  • Be sure guests have a spot for boots, coats, and umbrellas right inside the door. That might mean doormats, coat hooks, or cubbies.
  • Add layers of texture throughout your home—just like how we layer up sweaters and coats during this time of year. Texture adds depth and dimension to a room. Leather and wood feel especially inviting in the winter.
  • Let there be light! Short days and long nights mean guests will need more task lighting during their stays. Brighten up a dark corner in the dining room with a floor lamp or add an extra table lamp to a side table for reading.
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Author: Kimberly White

Kimberly joined Vacasa in December 2010 and has since held multiples roles within the company, including setting the tone for the customer experience side of Vacasa that is so critical to its service today. As a key leader in Operations, Kimberly applies her attention to detail and extensive design background to the interior design aspect of Vacasa, ensuring that the in-home experience maximizes both guest satisfaction and homeowner returns.