7 Winter Defenses

By on Dec 3, 2014 in News

Winter is in full swing, bringing with it unpredictable cold fronts and unpleasant, icy storms. Keep your property and residents safe with these simple tips for wintshutterstock_154457561erizing your apartments.

For Owners

HVAC Tune-up Seasonal inspections of your heating and cooling systems will ensure that they are operating at optimal efficiency. It’s also a great idea to make sure that ducts are properly sealed and insulated, which can cut costs by 20 percent or more according to EnergyStar.gov.

Stock Up on Salt Make sure that you have enough salt to help defrost walkways, exterior stairways, and inclines throughout the parking lot, entrances, and exits. If the weather drops below 16 degrees for several hours, you may consider a beet juice, molasses, and cheese brine defrosting cocktail.  If your community rarely experiences freezes and doesn’t have a plan in place, speak with your maintenance team to set a schedule or assign a technician in charge of defrosting the premises. No one wants to be surprised with such a task at 4am.

Arborist Inspection Have an arborist inspect trees for rot, damage, disease, and pests. Branches that are weighed down by snow and ice are prone to fall when they’re already weak. The National Storm Damage Center reports that trees damaged by severe weather cause more than $1 billion in property damage each year. The arborist’s inspection could save you millions by preventing property damage and injury to your residents.

Text Alerts If your property does not have a text-alert system for residents, consider establishing one. Use this system to notify residents of extreme weather conditions and fallen trees across nearby thoroughfares. It’s a small touch that can save time and keep residents safe.

Extinguisher Check Be sure that fire extinguishers are inspected per fire department code. Scheduling inspections in the later fall and early winter is ideal, just as residents get creative with cooking and holiday merriment.

For Renters

Be sure to check your lease before making any permanent changes or modifications to your unit. If in doubt, ask your landlord or leasing agent.

Fight Drafts Drafts are inevitable, particularly in well-established apartment buildings whose features have had time to settle. If you can’t determine the source of the draft simply because of its strength, consider shutting all of the doors and windows and then walking slowly through your unit with a candle or incense stick. The flame will lean towards the source of the draft, or flicker rapidly before going out. The smoke from the incense will work its way towards the opening as well. Once the source is identified, you have several options:

  • Doors could use a weather strip along the bottom. If the draft is coming through the top or sides, the door may need to be adjusted within its frame.
  • Windows could also benefit from a weather strip along the base. If the draft seeps in from around the windows, it may need to be caulked or adjusted. If the cold seems to permeate the glass, you could speak with your landlord about replacing the single-paned glass with a double-paned option. If your landlord needs incentive, remind him or her that such windows decrease heating and cooling costs, which will make the unit more energy efficient and marketable. If the landlord doesn’t take the bait, invest in insulated curtains.
  • Chimneys have dampers that can open and close. Make sure that the damper is closed. If you do not have a solid glass screen for the fireplace, consider installing one. Make sure that it is closed when not in use.

Add Cozy Accents Your beautiful hardwood floors do nothing to insulate your apartment. Consider area rugs to help with heat retention. There is no need for high-end imports. Any carpeting will be an improvement. Also, rather than cranking up the thermostat at night, you may find it beneficial to change out your bedding for thicker blankets and sheets in cozy cotton flannel.

Share your helpful winterizing tips with The Balance Sheet community!