The temperature has gone down and it’s about time for you to turn up the heat in your properties. Getting your property ready for winter involves more than just adjusting the temperature, though. Here’s a quick guide to ensure you’ll be ready long before that first storm arrives.
1. Service your heaters. Before winter has the chance to get the best of you, make sure that all your heaters have been serviced (once a year is a good rule of thumb) and make a habit of replacing furnace filters. This will increase efficiency and save energy, keeping your bill as low as possible.
2. Take care of A/C units. Make sure the water valves of any window air conditioning units have been drained and excess water has been cleared from the unit. This will keep your A/C pipes from freezing during the winter months and expand their lifespan significantly. Even better, if possible, remove them from windows altogether as they tend to create cracks for cold weather to seep in.
3. Close your windows. If your property units have storm windows, either send a letter to your tenants advising them to close all storm windows by a specific deadline or give them notice that a maintenance person will be by to take care of it for them. You can also add locks to your windows to cut down on drafts. Fewer drafts equal lower costs. (If you don’t have storm windows try picking up a window insulation kit at your local hardware store for just a few bucks.)
4. Mind the gaps. Speaking of drafts, do you have any seasonal caulking to take care of? Do away with gaps and drafts with a little caulking and weather stripping (corners where two building materials meet and wire and pipe exit points are prime candidates for drafty leaks). Supplies for this are cheap and can be found at any general hardware store. This relatively cheap fix can save you big. According to gas and electric company NStar, “ … reducing air leaks could cut 10 percent from an average household’s monthly energy bill.”
5. Book your plow ahead of time. Now that you’ve braced your units from the blustery weather, make sure you have all the supplies and vendors you’ll need lined up. Weather may be unpredictable but you can have a plan of action ready to roll out as soon as that first storm hits. Price out and select a plower ahead of time, securing a deal so that once that first snow hits and everyone else is frantically calling for snow removal, you’ll be sitting pretty.
6. Stock up on salt. Prepare for even the most unpredictable weather by keeping salt on-hand. (Also, you’ll avoid the frantic lines when everyone else is trying to buy their salt and shovels in the hours before a storm is scheduled to set in.) Once the weather does set in, lay down the salt as soon as possible. Icy ground is an accident waiting to happen and you don’t want to be held responsible for anyone’s bad slip.
7. Cover up your floors. Speaking of salt, that’s just one of many things tenants may trudge in during stormy weather. Lay down mud carpets to protect communal floors and carpets. This is another cheap fix that can save you big, potentially extending the lifespan of your floor and carpet tremendously.
And last but not least, a bonus tip. Despite all your best planning, the fact of the matter is your heating bills are going to be higher in the winter. Plan ahead for this by budgeting ahead of time, in those warmer months when winter is but a distant memory. Some utility companies also offer a flat annual rate to even out gas and electric costs throughout the year—this may be worth looking into for those property managers who live in particularly cold climates.Read more on Maintenance & Improvements