7 tips for winterizing multifamily structures
With much of the United States mired in a lengthy, bitter cold stretch, the owners and managers of some multifamily structures are finding that their structures aren’t ready for winter.
Proper winterization is key to keeping the facility in good shape and making sure residents are happy.
Here are seven tips from water conservation firm WaterSignal for winterizing a multifamily property:
Prepare for winter storms early
Don’t wait until a bitter storm hits. Take time to create or review your property’s emergency winter weather plan, make sure you have an ample supply of road salt ready to go, and touch base with any seasonal contractor you use for snow and ice clearing.
Inspect, insulate and monitor water pipes
If you live in a region that gets particularly frigid during the winter, then you know the danger of frozen pipes. Before temperatures go below freezing, you should inspect and wrap your pipes using an insulating tape or foam tubes, both of which are available at any hardware store. It’s also a good idea to install a water meter data management device, which monitors your facility’s water system in real-time and detects leaks and other problems right as they happen. Should a pipe freeze and rupture on an especially cold night, you’ll know it immediately.
Seal drafty windows, doors, and other cracks
Cold air wafting into your building from the outside is not only uncomfortable — it wastes energy and results in high utility bills. Take the time to walk around and inspect the building for signs of cold drafts, then repair or caulk those spots accordingly. You also want to make sure that weather stripping and exterior door sweeps are properly installed.
Clear your gutters
If your building’s gutters are loaded up with leaves and other debris, they won’t drain properly. This is technically a year-round recommendation, but a clogged gutter in the winter can result in a dangerous, weighty accumulation of snow and ice that can cause leaks and damage to your building.
Don’t forget the irrigation system
In colder regions, draining the pipes of your irrigation system is strongly recommended, or else leftover water can freeze and damage your entire system. Draining your irrigation system may not be as critical in more temperate regions, but if a sudden cold snap is in the forecast, make sure the freeze sensor is functional and be prepared to turn the water supply on and off as needed.
Keep an eye on leaning trees and branches
Ice storms, high winds and heavy snow accumulation are more than capable of bringing down a tree. Before winter hits, have an arborist come in to determine if any trees surrounding your property are compromised enough to warrant being cut down.
Encourage tenants to report issues as soon as possible
Make sure your tenants know the protocol for reporting issues, and when a ticket comes in, address it promptly. The sooner you become aware of issues affecting your property, the sooner you can have them resolved without causing extra damage.