Chicago’s spring and fall seasons are notoriously short – this year, many homeowners were surprised with only two weeks between running their AC and having to turn on the heat. This rough awakening should be a reminder to think about winterizing your condo or building. If you haven’t taken care of this by now, it’s important to get to the basics before the real winter season sets in. When it comes to winter preparation, the old saying about an once of prevention being worth a pound of cure rings true.
With that in mind, here is a list of the most urgent winter maintenance tasks you should look into this season:
Keep up the exterior – your building’s exterior is the first line of defense against the winter elements. If you are aware of any places where the exterior has been damaged or is leaking, address those spots first. Then, replace or re-apply building sealant and caulking to all doors and windows that looks like they need it. Dollar for dollar, caulking makes the most difference in keeping your building protected from the elements and maximizing energy efficiency.
Furnace and boiler maintenance – whether your building has central or in-unit utilities, they should be checked and overhauled before the true cold conditions arrive. What is a minor nuisance in the summer – no hot water – can be truly a truly unpleasant experience in the midst of winter. Calling in emergency repair services will also not be light on the pocketbook, so plan ahead and make sure your heating appliances are fit to last another season.
Clean gutters and other drainage – in the fall, these systems can easily become clogged with leaves, leading to poor or non-existent drainage during the wettest seasons of the year. This, in turn, can lead to leaks, load bearing problems of accumulating snow, and dangerous icicles. Make sure all drainage systems are clear, and continue checking them periodically through the fall and winter seasons.
If you take care of just these three things, your winter season will go a lot more smoothly. Again, this list is not comprehensive, so use your instincts and contact your property manager if you notice any problem areas around the building.