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10 Steps for Winter Preparedness for Buildings


By Steve Bouzan

For many, the winter season means holiday shopping, celebrating with friends and family and toasting another successful year! Unfortunately, winter also brings snow, ice and freezing rain – all with the potential to significantly impact the condition of your property, dampening that joyous champagne toast. The good news is whether you own your own property or are a property manager, there are several practical ways to proactively safeguard your property and minimize damage. Below is a Top 10 list to encourage you to take a closer look before Mother Nature and Jack Frost come knocking… 

1. Property management and maintenance staff should do a routine walk through of all grounds and check all building components. This includes landscaping and equipment such as controllers, timers, sprinkler systems, sidewalks, fencing and outdoor lighting.

2. A sweep of recreational equipment like pools, playgrounds, tennis courts and exercise rooms is an important additional step.  

3. Add weather stripping around windows or repair any poorly-closing doors to reduce wind gusts and maximize heating efficiency. 

4. To prevent water damage, turn off sprinklers and wrap any exposed water pipes with plumbing tape.  Shut down and drain water from any spigots.  In extreme cold weather, keep the cabinet under the sink in kitchen and bathroom open.  

5. Review the maintenance plan for keeping all parking lots, sidewalks and stairs free from ice and snow. Have plenty of calcium chloride/ice melt in stock.

6. Notify all tenants to keep their heat on and not let the unit drop below 55 degrees if they are going to be away from their unit. 

7. Follow a proper maintenance schedule for the property’s heating and cooling system and have furnaces, boilers and sump pumps serviced annually.   Make sure to change furnace filters and clean the cooling system’s coils regularly.

8. Clean gutters to reduce the chance of ice damming and water damage.  Use a roof rake to remove snow 3’ from edge of roof to prevent ice dams. 

9. Clean landscaping equipment and prepare snow removal equipment.

10. Keep plenty of fuel and generators properly stored in the event of power outage.

While it is nearly impossible to guarantee no damage will occur over the bitter winter months, taking these thoughtful and practical steps will minimize damage and ensure a more enjoyable season!  

Steve Bouzan is the director of training and safety at ARS Restoration Services, Steve develops and conducts several safety and training programs for both employees and customers throughout the year, with a focus on Safety, Water and Fire Mitigation, Mold Remediation, and Blood borne Pathogens. With 16 years of industry experience, Steve is also authorized by OSHA to conduct their General Industry 10 and 30 Hour courses.  Steve also creates, updates, and maintains all of ARS’ safety policies and procedures.  



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posted on 1/5/2018