With the temperature dropping, most people want to stay on their couch with a cozy blanket and some good TV. The holidays offer many things, family, holiday classics, and a reprieve from usual stressors with more days off from work. Even with so many people planning their upcoming vacations from their everyday jobs, winter doesn’t quite translate that way into the world of property management. Check out these tasks you should be putting on your schedule. With the Festival of Lights coming our way, have these eight nights of winter house maintenance, no matter where you live.
1. Clean the Dryer Vents
The community laundry always needs to be maintained. Hopefully, everyone knows about the lint tray in the dryer. They should, right? What everyone may not recall is the dryer vent on the back. This long tube goes from the dryer, through walls and crawl spaces, right out to the outside world, and many people find it easily forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind, out of the frying pan and straight into the fire. Dryers are a leading cause of house fires. In fact, over a third of all clothes dryer fires are caused by people not having their vents cleaned. U.S. Fire Administration recommends having dryer vents cleaned once a year, and those with larger families should consider doing this task more often. Dryer’s do much more work during the winter with cooler temperatures making it harder to dry clothes, so winter is a prime time to do this. With large community laundry rooms, you do not know how often people may be loading the machines, so keep an eye for extra use.
2. Check Roofing
Having a roof over your head is a forever favorite cause of feeling safe and taken care of, but sometimes you need to take care of the roof in return. Once you have the right kind of ladder and are confident in how to use it, take the time to examine the roof and area around it. Inspect nearby trees to see if they are too close or capable of causing damage. Clear off debris inspect vents and seals. For those with community roof areas, it may be easier to check for spots and leaks, and check for common foot paths that have damage.
If you live in a warmer part of the world, check for water proofing elements, rubber seals, and so on. Summer heat can cause these to melt or wear out before their time. Before winter rain comes in, check that these seals are up to the task.
3. Clear Gutters
Gutters are a prime place to prevent flooding in your home and can also cause it without the proper attention it deserves. Now that fall is over, inspect your gutters and down spouts. Too many leaves and trash can clog the areas. With winter rain, the gutters can overflow.
Keep in mind that icicles have their own weight. That plus uncleared debris can have a costly damage to home siding and roof.
4. Elevator Maintenance
Many people have elevator horror stories. With winter around the corner, they can get much more use, with those preferring a warm elevator to icy stairwells that may or may not be heated. Keeping in mind that cold weather can harm the electric systems, it’s time to make sure your elevator is prepped with preventative measures. Frigid and dry winter air can affect how well the rails run, so check their lubrication as well as any buildup of snow or ice at the car doors.
5. Inspect Nearby Trees
Be it snow or rain, trees can be weighed down as weather turns colder. Or at the very least, cooler than it had been before. During storms, branches can fall and damage homes or wiring, so make sure all nearby trees and their branches are at least three to six feet away from the roof. Not only can this prevent structural damage, this distance prevents rodents and bugs from coming into your property.
6. Winter Storms
Speaking of, you need to prepare for winter storms. For those in warmer climates, this can mean just your regular ole thunderstorms. Freezing rain can be a danger, especially when temperature at night can be much colder than during the day, even in the south. Check outdoor hoses to make sure they are disconnected, as well as any water pipes than run through areas of the house that are colder than others (such as garages, basements, or attics). Check that your fire extinguishers in common spaces are charged. Keep an eye on the forecast for overnight freezes and have something on hand to provide traction just in case.
7. Check All Detector Batteries
Smoke detectors, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors – these are all battery-based items which means they can, at the worst moment, fail. On this, the seventh night, take a moment and a ladder to examine your life saving detectors and see how the batteries are holding up in common areas like washrooms, laundry halls, and more. Then you can make a list and check it twice to add some back up batteries to your holiday shopping list.
8. Parking Lots
It may be the sweet holiday season but make sure you are stocked up on salt. Even if you do not live in a snowy area, you need to keep the parking lot maintained. This can mean spreading something to keep parking lot ramps safe for foot traffic, shoveling off any debris, sealing it so the concrete is weatherproof, and more. Take some time to check the paint lines as well so people can keep their vehicles in check.
Now that your eight nights of winter home care are up, you can take some time for yourself. Happy holidays and enjoy the winter weather.