As the first days of autumn arrive, now is the time to prepare your apartment complex for the winter ahead. Taking a few property winterization steps now will keep you toasty when the thermostat starts to drop.
The Basic Property Winterization Steps
Boiler and furnace maintenance needs to get checked off your list. You knew that, didn’t you? Everything should be double-checked and overhauled before the snowflakes start falling. Making an emergency repair call for hot water or heat in the middle of winter will be considerably more expensive than a routine check in the summer.
If it is time to replace a heating unit, then look for a new one with an Energy Star label. There are state, local and federal incentives that would help defray costs with rebates but read the fine print before you buy. Make sure you purchase the right unit for the rebate.
Don’t forget to stock up on sand, rock salt alternatives, or other environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways and improve traction. Plan to check with the National Weather Service regarding winter storms and wind chill warnings.
Young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable during this time of year. Share with your residents the best practices during snowstorms and extreme cold to stay safe.
Your building’s first defense against the weather is the exterior. You already know those problem spots where your building is leaking or damaged. Call the professionals who can address those issues now.
The other drafty places in your building are your windows and doors. Check for cracks in window frames. Reapply caulking and sealant to all doors and windows that might need insulation. The name of the game is energy efficiency, keeping the cold air out.
Another place for drafts might be outlets. Check the outlets on the outer walls of the apartment. Seal the outlets up if you feel a draft coming from them. Turn off the power, remove the cover plate and spray expanding insulating foam around the outlet box.
Now that you have eliminated unwanted air drafts, consider flowing air in the right direction. We all know warm air rises. Ceiling fans can help push warm air down to residents. Check that your ceiling fans are turning clockwise during the winter months, keeping the warm air moving throughout the room.
It is also time to clean the gutters and any other drainage system your building uses. Leaves, seeds and small branches can clog your gutters. Don’t let water accumulate and freeze, leading to load bearing problems on and around your building. Freezing and melting ice will create problems so make sure your drainage systems are clear and in good working order now to prevent problems later.
What Can Your Residents Do?
Make sure to stay in communication with your tenants. The easiest way to inform them of property winterization steps is through online sources and your social media outlets.
Approach energy efficiency as a win-win situation. If it is possible you should consider installing digital thermostats in units. Heating costs can be cut in units when residents are at work.
Suggest to residents that they hang insulated drapes. These drapes can keep the cool, air conditioned air in during the summer and the warm air contained in the winter. The drape investment would aid their comfort all year long. Also encourage tenants to open their (insulated) drapes during the day to let in sunlight. The sun’s warmth can naturally raise temperatures in a room.
Your residents may want to contribute to property winterization with a few energy tips of their own. Winter is coming. Be proud, you have gone through your checklist.
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