While winterizing your rental property is a year-round process, mid to late November marks the true countdown to the winter solstice. In case you’re just getting started, ResMan partnered with Property Operations and Consultant Chad Moulin to bring you a comprehensive guide to prepping your property. Get ready for snowflakes and ice storms with these 26 tips for winterizing your apartment community.
Tips for winterizing your property:
Tip #1: Safety first. Repair stairs and walkways to reduce falling and tripping hazards.
Tip #2: Clear your gutters. Check for debris that has found its way into drains. You want to avoid leaks or dangerous accumulation of snow and ice.
Tip #3: Seize the day. Stock up on ice melt and snow clearing equipment. If temperatures are warm during the day and you expect precipitation or snow overnight, pre-salt your walkways. It will make clearing the snow in the morning that much easier.
Tip #4: Check your heating. Make sure your furnaces and boilers are in good condition. This includes your systems in storages and riser rooms. Clean units and replace parts and filters as needed because emergency repair services are more costly than preventive measures.
Tip #5: Let there be light. Ensure walkways are well-lit for those long, dark wintery nights. The last thing anyone wants is to trip and fall.
Tip #6: Know your property. Do you have a floor plan that has a layout that is more prone to pipe freezes? Having this knowledge of your property’s cold weather history helps your residents prepare for severe weather and gives you the opportunity, for example, to install a vent to allow the cold air to escape the wall cavity.
Tip #7: Caulk and seal. Check for gaps or cracks around your doors, windows, and exterior walls of your property. For one, heat loss can occur. Two, unwanted pests can enter your structure.
Tip #8: Stay on the safe side. You can’t predict what happens during severe winter weather. Don’t let your residents go uninsured. With ResMan Extend, you have access to multiple insurance agencies looking to put you and your residents first.
Tip #9: Winterize your chimneys. Check for cracks and clean any buildup of ash or creosote. If a resident does not use their chimney, the flue should remain closed to prevent drafts.
Tip #10: Inspect your roof. Fall is the best time for maintenance staff to inspect flashing and seals around vents, pipes, and chimneys on building roofs. Look for holes or missing shingles to prevent leaks and water damage during storms.
Tip #11: Protect your pools. In-ground pools will need to be covered. Clean and drain all pumps, filters, heaters, and pipes. Duct tape should be used to wrap exposed pipes to prevent freezing.
For above-ground pools, filters and tanks should be washed, drained, and blown out. Pipes and skimmers should be plugged, and pumps and filters should be disconnected.
Always disconnect and store pool accessories and add winterizing chemicals to the water.
Tip #12: Trim your trees. Be sure to cut weak branches and damaged trees. Fallen or blown tree limbs could damage your property or cause injury.
Tip #13: Insulate. All outdoor pipes or pipes in unheated indoor areas should be insulated against icy weather.
Tip #14: Be proactive. Regularly inspect shutoff valves and levers. During inclement weather, you want to be able to shut off the water.
Tip #15: The National Fire Protection Association has free research and information on fire, electrical, and related hazards for property managers to better understand their systems and maintain proper prevention protocols.
Tip #16: In the event of severe wintry weather, you want to make sure that you have maintained solid records and that you have access to them. ResMan comes with inventory management tools that help you avoid spending on items already warrantable. Snap a picture, upload it to a work order, and attach to a resident’s file for seamless documentation. Your important data will also be backed up in the cloud.
Tip# 17: Test detectors. If maintenance of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the property is your responsibility as per the lease agreement, remember to test the devices and replace the batteries.
Tip #18: Let faucets drip. Encourage residents to leave faucets slightly dripping at a lukewarm temperature to prevent their pipes from freezing. Leaving cabinet doors below sinks open can also do the trick.
Tip #19: Cover your floors. Laying down mud carpets to protect communal floors and carpets will help extend their lifespan.
Tip #20: Keep it warm. Set the thermostat in vacant units at a minimum of 60 degrees. Even better, invest in programmable thermostats to save you time and money. Zego, one of ResMan’s partners, is the hub for smarter apartment living.
Tip #21: Empower your residents to do their parts in keeping units in working order over the winter months by sending email and text reminders. With ResMan Essentials, you can send and receive any messages in bulk. Since email templates can be used for printed communication, provide your residents with a checklist that highlights all the necessary steps to ensure no damage is done to their apartment during the winter.
Tip #22: Practice safety. Whether onsite staff or resident, turn off portable heaters when leaving a room or going to bed.
Tip #23: Been to the Department of Housing and Urban Development website lately? They have great resources for property operators needing emergency preparedness guidance.
Tip #24: Switch the direction of your fans. In communal areas, change the rotation of your ceiling fans to push warm air down. Residents can do the same
Tip #25: Have a plan in place. Weather catastrophes can come without warning. Property management teams need to have a responsive plan in place for handling resident calls about broken pipes, property conditions, and more. Keeping your office open and having experienced staff members ready on standby 24/7 during major weather events ensures issues are dealt with immediately.
Tip #26: Take care of yourself. Make sure that all your cold weather gear – boots, gloves, hats, masks, coats, overalls, socks, etc. – is ready in case of an emergency. The proper gear can help make working in the elements much more comfortable. Keep in mind that synthetic fabrics and moisture wicking under layers help keep you warm and dry.
Preparing your property for winter can be a bit tedious. There are many moving parts and factors to consider. Don’t be overwhelmed. ResMan’s Property Winterization checklist can help you figure out what you need to do and when.
About Chad Moulin:
Chad Moulin has been in the field of property management for more than 25 years. Chad earned his CAMT designation through NAA as well as being recognized many times over as a leader in property management maintenance.
Starting out as a groundskeeper and working his way up through the ranks of property management, Chad has worked on almost every type of property and dealt with every type of maintenance issue imaginable.
In 2012, Chad created Prop Ops: Property Operations Training and Consulting. His goal is to bring a higher standard and more in-depth type of training to the world of property management maintenance. Chad’s seminars are designed around a real-world approach to achieving property management excellence. Visit his website here.