November 28th, 2016
Winters in the Northeast can be a trying time for property managers and property owners the like, especially if not prepared for what might lie ahead. Here are my top ten tips for avoiding winter disasters.
- Clean off flat roofs, roof drains, gutters, and downspouts when about half the leaves have fallen from the trees and again after all the leaves have fallen. This will ensure proper drainage and limit the chance for ice damming.
- Fill cracks in asphalt pavement with an asphalt-based crack filler and in concrete walkways or patios with a flexible mortar-based caulk. This will lessen the chance for additional cracking during the freezing and thawing.
- Rodent-proof the basements and attics of buildings to prevent large rodents such as squirrels and racoons from making your property their home for the winter. Use sheet metal or galvanized wire mesh to cover holes at the roof line or at the foundation of a building, where cridders can enter an attic or crawl space.
- Perform mouse-proofing in dwelling units of multifamily buildings. Use steel wool or a pest-blocking spray foam to fill holes around pipes, wires, and other through wall protrusions. These holes are most commonly found under sinks, behind appliances, and around heating pipes.
- Inspect roofs and perform any required maintenance before the freezing weather. Apply flashing cement to open seams and around protrusions.
- Turn off the water supply to outdoor water spigots and drain hoses or irrigation systems. Neglecting to do this can result in a burst pipe.
- Have boilers serviced by licensed plumbing & heating contractors at the beginning of the heating season. Failure to keep moving parts clean may result in a "No Heat" situation in the dead of winter, or worse yet, a catastrophic failure such as a boiler explosion or boiler flood.
- Remove dead branches from trees before the first snow fall. Under the weight of the snow, dead branches will most likely snap and fall on whatever is below.
- Stock up on snow and ice melting products. Don't wait for the snow because calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and old fashioned rock salt will be in high demand and short supply.
- Inspect chimneys to make sure they are clear of obstructions. A clogged chimney can create a backdraft that can cause your mechanical systems to shut down and can also force deadly carbon monoxide into living spaces.
- Insulate pipes found in unconditioned spaces such as stairwells, garages, and basements to prevent them from freezing.