Your Client’s Guide to Property Winterization

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The winter solstice is Saturday, December 21st, 2019.  This is the astronomical first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and happens to be the shortest day of the year.  Although it has felt cold for a few weeks now, especially in the northeast, it is a good time to remind your building owner and community association clients to start preparing their grounds and amenities for the winter season (if they haven’t already done so!).  If they take the right precautions to protect their property, they will make it through the winter with hopefully minimal issues.  A quick reminder to your clients can help make sure that the necessary winterizing steps are taken with a community’s assets, therefore increasing the lifespan of the grounds and amenities. This will also help reduce the cost for all of the members of the community for repairing or even replacing any equipment such as pools, tennis courts, and lawn care tools from wear and tear caused by the rough winter conditions.

Here are a few things for Property Owners and Community Associations to check before the winter season hits:

  • Property managers and maintenance staff should do a thorough walk through of all of the grounds, making sure to check all building components – roofs, windows, gutters, trim, decks, garages, elevators, siding, HVAC units, etc. 
  • Be sure to also check all landscaping and equipment as well such as controllers, timers, sprinkler systems, sidewalks, fencing, outdoor lighting; as well as recreational equipment like pools, playgrounds, tennis courts and exercise rooms.
  • Sprinklers should be turned off.  Be sure to wrap any exposed water pipes with plumbing tape.  Shut down and drain the water from any spigots.
  • Try adding weather-stripping around windows or repair any poorly closing doors to reduce wind gusts and to maximize heating efficiency.
  • Review the maintenance plan for keeping all parking lots, sidewalks and stairs free from ice and snow.
  • Notify all tenants to keep their heat on and not to let the unit drop below 40 degrees if they are going to be away from their unit.
  • Follow a proper maintenance schedule for the property’s heating and cooling system.  Be sure to change the air filters and clean the cooling system’s coils regularly, this can help save money on heating bills.
  • Gutters are a collection point for leaves. Cleaning out gutters frequently can reduce the chance of ice damming and water damage. 
  • A thorough cleaning of landscaping equipment removing dirt and moisture will greatly reduce rust and wear extending the life expectancy of the equipment.
  • Prepare snow removal equipment.

Time is of the essence when winterizing any property.  The first storm of the season always seems to be a surprise.  Reminding your property owners and community associations to be pro-active when preparing for the winter can save them a lot of hassle and can save money!

New Empire Group is a nationally recognized and awarded insurance program administrator providing specialty insurance programs and products for the commercial real estate industry, including Commercial Umbrella, CondoPak, and RECOVER Environmental.

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