New Englanders know that Mother Nature sure can be fickle all year but most especially during the winter months. She’ll give us warm, sunny skies one day and frigid, cloud-filled skies the next. Throw in some sleet, snow, and slush and you have a recipe for a typical New England winter.
Knowing the frequent and dramatic shifts in weather in our region, landlords and property managers should plan early for essential winter maintenance to keep residents safe and warm.
Clean Out Gutters
If you didn’t take care of this vital maintenance task in the fall, this could be your last chance before everything freezes and is unsafe to complete.
Gutters have one main and critical purpose – to keep water away from the structure of the home, specifically the foundation and siding. If gutters are clogged with leaves, debris and wildlife nesting material, they could cause a water intrusion in the siding, attic, and/or basement. Extreme clogs could also help contribute to ice dams on roofs.
Taking good care to clean gutters prior to the winter is key to keeping this element of your home working properly.
Insulation Check Around Windows & Doors
Two of the areas that are most guilty of causing drafts in a home during the coldest months of the year are the windows and the doors. Landlords and property management companies should make it a priority to check the caulking and airflow around these areas.
To fix overly drafty areas, a new coat of caulking and a door sweep could resolve this issue. In rare cases, it may be determined that the seal on the windows is too old and replacement may be needed.
HVAC Systems Prepped
To ensure that heating systems are working at top efficiency an annual check-up should be completed on HVAC systems no matter how your home, condo or apartment is heated. This regular maintenance can protect from unanticipated breakdowns at unfortunate times.
Check-ups could include changing filters, cleaning ductwork or making sure that everything is working well before the cold of winter truly sets in.
Home fires happen more during the winter months than during any other time of year. The use of candles, space heaters, fireplaces, and ovens increases during these months which means the incidents of fires also rise.
To educate your tenants, remind everyone of best practices of candle and space heater use including not leaving them unattended or with children playing around them.
Prevention of Slips & Trips
Winter is notoriously a very icy and snowy time in our region. That means that landlords and property managers need to have a team of plowers and shovelers at the ready when a storm is headed this way. A clean walkway, driveway and walking paths will help reduce the likelihood of residents having a slip and fall.
Trimming Shrubs & Trees
Blizzards and nor’easters bring dangerous winds to Massachusetts and that means downed power lines due to trees or branches falling on power lines. Landlords and property management teams should be sure to have all trees, branches and shrubs trimmed before the winter. Not only will this task allow maintenance crews to trim back precariously positioned branches but it will also give them a chance to check on the health of trees.
Prevention of CO Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill in hours. If a home or apartment building’s dryer vent or other exhaust systems are blocked by piles of snow, residents are in grave danger.
Property managers should check these exhaust vents after each snowfall and confirm that every unit has a working CO monitoring system.
These are just a few of the tasks landlords should be proactive about prior to the heart of any New England winter. Talk to our team today about how our property management maintenance works and how we can help your buildings stay safe and warm this winter.