Building and Condo Maintenance

Winter Maintenance Tips: How to Prep Your Building For Winter

Winter in Chicago often brings unique challenges for property owners and managers. The combination of cold temperatures, snow, and ice can pose significant risks to your property.

Effective winter maintenance not only safeguards your investment in your building but also upholds the safety and comfort of your residents.

From handling snow removal services to insulating pipes, the following tips will equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to protect your property and preserve its value during the challenging winter months.

Winter Maintenance Tips

By following these expert winter maintenance tips, you’ll be better prepared to ensure the well-being of your property, minimize risks, and provide peace of mind to both yourself and your residents throughout the colder months.

Inspect Boilers and Furnaces

Before the winter chill sets in, it’s essential to have your boilers and furnaces inspected by a qualified technician.

Ensure they are in optimal working condition to keep your building warm and comfortable throughout the season. Regular maintenance can also improve energy efficiency, reducing your heating costs.

Keep the Heat On

The Chicago Heat Ordinance is in effect from September 15th to June 1st. This means that during these months, landlords and property maintenance teams must ensure the heat supply is on for all residential buildings where occupants do not have individual heating control through individual heating equipment.

Keeping the heat on not only ensures the comfort and safety of occupants, it helps prevent frozen pipes which can burst and cause significant damage.

Tenants and condo owners should be reminded that if they travel during the winter, the heat in their units should be set to a minimum of 66°F to avoid damage in frigid temperatures.

Secure Service Contracts for Snow Removal

To avoid the last-minute rush and ensure the availability of snow removal services, it’s advisable to start your search well before the first snowflakes fall.

Effective snow removal minimizes inconveniences for tenants and residents but also helps maintain the safety and accessibility of the property during winter.

By securing a service contract ahead of time, you gain peace of mind and guarantee that your property is in capable hands during winter’s worst weather.

This proactive strategy minimizes the risks associated with slippery walkways and parking areas, reducing the chances of accidents and potential legal liabilities for property owners and management companies alike.

Ensure Pipes are Insulated

Taking the time to insulate your pipes is imperative in preventing the costly consequences of frozen plumbing. Pay extra attention to older pipes with signs of corrosion or cracks, as these vulnerable points are more susceptible to rupturing when exposed to freezing temperatures.

Failure to address issues with pipes can result in water damage and flooding.

Clean Gutters

Proper gutter maintenance is more than just a seasonal chore – it is a crucial defense against winter woes. Neglected gutters, clogged with dead leaves and debris, can hinder the smooth flow of melting snow and rainwater.

This accumulation of water can cause it to pool or back up, which, in cold temperatures can form ice dams leading to potential structural damage and costly repairs.

Regular gutter cleaning will help you maintain your property’s integrity and protect against potential winter-related hazards.

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam acts as a frozen barrier along your roof’s edge, inhibiting the natural flow of melting snow off the roof’s surface. This trapped water can accumulate and seep into your building, potentially wreaking havoc on ceilings, walls, and insulation, resulting in significant structural and cosmetic damage.

Consider Rooftop Snow Removal

Rooftop snow accumulation is a prevalent concern in a city like Chicago. Excessive snow, particularly on flat roofs, can place a substantial burden on the structural integrity of your building.

As this snow gradually thaws and refreezes, it can contribute to forming ice dams, resulting in blocked gutters, water pooling, and potentially destructive leaks within your building.

Considering professional rooftop snow removal services is a proactive approach to ward off these snow-related problems and protect your investment.

Trim Trees

Ensuring that trees surrounding your property are well-maintained is an often-overlooked aspect of winter preparation. Overhanging branches, especially when laden with accumulating snow and ice, become vulnerable to breaking, potentially causing damage to your building, cars, or even injuries to passersby.

Beyond property protection, regular tree maintenance serves the dual purpose of preventing costly repairs and, perhaps more importantly, maintaining the safety of your building’s occupants. By trimming branches proactively, you can mitigate risks associated with winter tree hazards, creating a safer and more secure environment for all.

Stock Up on De-Icers

Stocking up on de-icers is a smart strategy for anyone managing properties in cold climates, like Chicago, where icy conditions are a recurring concern.

These products are instrumental in preventing slips and falls by efficiently melting ice on walkways and driveways, contributing to a safer and more secure environment for your valued tenants and guests during the winter season.

When to Reach Out to the Property Manager:

Knowing when to contact your property manager is essential to address winter-related issues effectively.

Here are some situations where reaching out is warranted:

a. Snow Removal Concerns: If you notice snow removal is not adequately performed within a reasonable amount of time following a snowstorm, leading to safety hazards or inconveniences, promptly informing your property manager is warranted.

b. Emergency Situations: In cases of common area heating system failures, frozen pipes, or other winter emergencies, contact your property manager immediately for a swift resolution.

c. Maintenance Requests: If you encounter any maintenance issues related to the common areas of the building and specific to winter conditions, report them to your property manager to address them.

Clear communication between property owners, residents, and property managers ensures a successful winter season. Understanding the division of responsibilities and when to contact your property manager can help create a safer and more comfortable winter experience.

Take Care of It All With The Right Property Management Company

Hiring a professional property management company like Hales can help eliminate some of the worries of winter property maintenance. Our experienced team can handle everything from routine inspections to emergency repairs, ensuring your property remains in top condition throughout winter.

For more information about property management, contact Hales Property Management today.

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