As we begin to unpack our sweaters and watch the leaves turn to orange and red, we are reminded that winter is just around the corner. Although it may be painful to think ahead to blizzards and sub-zero temperatures, as a property manager, now is the time to winterize your properties.
The most important thing that any property manager should remember as winter approaches: be prepared! The low temperatures and heavy snows of winter can cause expensive damage to buildings. However, close inspection of key components of your properties and a few simple repairs now can save you a lot of money and hassle during the winter months. So again, the most important thing you can do is check and double-check your properties well in advance of the first snowflakes.
One of the most vulnerable parts of any property during the winter is the basement. Along with damage to frozen pipes and strain on your boiler, winter can cause havoc on brick and mortar. Even a small hole in the exterior of a building can burst open from winter temperatures and wind, wasting energy and causing expensive damage. Closely inspecting your basement for any, even minor, damage to bricks and mortar can save you time and money down the road. While in the basement, check pipes and windows and get your boilers professionally inspected. It’s a lot cheaper and easier to replace a few broken valves or reseal your windows than to wait for winter to put them to the test.
Once your basement is well-sealed and all boilers and heaters are in good working order, stock up on winter supplies such as shovels, salt, and sand. Along with being well-prepared (the winterization mantra), you’d be surprised how often these supplies sell out during the first storm. You don’t want to be caught with a dangerous walkway so get stocked up early. Also, contact your snow-removal vendor to ensure contracts are in order. If you do some snow removal yourself, inspect your snow blowers early and replace any broken parts. If you don’t own a snow blower, you may want to consider purchasing one. They make snow removal easy and fast, and they save your back from hours of shoveling.
Along with these major considerations, you should follow this basic checklist to ensure you’re well-prepared for winter:
- Inspect your roof, making sure gutters and downspouts are clean.
- Winterize all outdoor faucets and bring in any hoses or sprinklers.
- Make sure all vents to the outdoors are well-sealed.
- Inspect your basement thoroughly, including mortar and heating equipment.
- Get prepared for snow removal by purchasing snow removal equipment, testing that all snow removal equipment is functioning properly, etc.
- Inspect vacant units to ensure windows are sealed.
If you can take the time now to go over all these aspects of winterization, you will save energy, money, and time this winter.