April 23, 2020| Lester Yat
Summer’s heat has faded away, and before you know it, winter’s icy blasts will arrive. These comfortable days of autumn provide the perfect opportunity to put the familiar “ounce of prevention” adage into practice.
Time that’s spent now on preventive maintenance will save money— and avoid headaches — for homeowners and managers alike in the months that lie ahead.
Property managers may be so accustomed to seeing a problem area that it becomes invisible to them. Property walks that include building interiors, exteriors, common areas, signage, flags, models, and office areas, therefore, are critical to identify small problems that need to be fixed and capital issues that need to be addressed and budgeted.
That said, what should be on your “to-do” list this fall? Let’s take a top-down look at maintenance steps that can prevent problems down the road.
The Roof. Mid-winter is not a good time to find out that the roof leaks. Before it’s covered with ice and snow, check the roof for loose, missing or damaged shingles, and remove any over-hanging branches that could cause damage during a winter storm.
Chimneys. Whether or not you expect Santa to slide in for a visit in December, a clean chimney is essential before residents begin gathering around the hearth. A chimney sweep will not only clear away creosote, bird nests and other obstructions, but will check for loose bricks and problems that could promote disastrous chimney fires.
Gutters. Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to cascades of water landing on sidewalks, dangerous icicles and roof-damaging ice dams.
Windows and doors. Properly caulked and weather-stripped doors and windows will not only make homes more comfortable by preventing drafts, but will save energy dollars, too — and checking to see that these components are in good working order can avoid emergency calls on a cold winter day.
Plumbing and Heating. Planning to head south for the winter? Check with your property manager for recommendations on thermostat settings and water shut-offs to avoid burst pipes, floods and related disasters when the temperature plummets.
Lighting. Perform a light check at night and look for potential safety risks resulting from poorly lit areas. Be aware of any city or state regulations that might impact common areas.
Sidewalks. A low spot in a walkway may be a slight inconvenience in the summer — and a dangerous, icy puddle in winter, leading to “slip and fall” accidents, injuries and lawsuits.
Parking lots. Those annoying little pavement cracks aren’t just cosmetic blemishes — they’re open invitations to damaging ice expansion when temperatures drop. Avoid a big paving job in the spring by having cracks filled and sealed before winter arrives.
Drains. Grates that get covered by debris in summer and fall will create icy ponds in the winter. Keep an eye on autumn leaves that drift across lots and against curbs, and remove them before the snow starts to fly.
The lazy, hazy days of summer are over! A little work this fall can avoid big problems, and major expenses, this winter.