The blustery weather is upon us and the hazy days of summer are a thing of the past. It’s time for property managers to think about winterizing their condo buildings if you haven’t already.

Here are the top 12 ways you can prepare your property for inclement weather:

    1. Check your furnaces. Make sure your furnace and boilers are in proper working order.  
    2. Inspect gutters. Clear gutters of any build-up of leaves or debris so they drain properly throughout the winter. Neglecting your gutters could lead to leaks or accumulation of snow and ice.
    3. Keep salt on hand. Sounds basic, right? It’s easy to go through salt in inclement weather.  Make sure you have enough on hand to clear walkways and the driveway so residents don’t slip and fall. Alternate ice melters are effective and available if you are concerned about causing harm in planting areas. Use Gypsum salt, as it’s less corrosive on concrete — especially on sidewalks.
    4. Inspect fire systems. Ensure your fire system is dry. If condensation builds up, it could damage the entire system.
    5. Check the insulation in your common areas. For those cold winter months, you may have to increase the insulation in common elements, especially around windows and doors. This can include installing weather stripping and a door sweep on exterior doors for a simple guard against the elements.  
    6. Check drains and troughs. Make sure the drains and troughs in your parking lots and ramps are cleared of leaves falling from the trees and general garbage blowing. Clogged or blocked drains can lead to flooding in your parking lot. Pooled water can be dangerous if it turns to ice and residents run the risk of falling.
    7. Inspect the building’s exteriors. This includes the roof, doors, window frames and any walls. Use caulking if you see areas where a draft can come in. In particular, check water hasn’t pooled on the roof.  Because our Canadian weather is far from consistent, all the changes can wreak havoc on a property, with temperatures reaching below freezing one minute, and thawing the next. To be on the safe side, we recommend you bring an inspector in before winter to observe the condition of the roof.
    8. Watch for fallen trees. Bad weather can wreak havoc on weak trees, and you don’t want to run the risk of them falling onto the property. Remove any trees you feel are a hazard before the weather gets bad and trim trees as necessary. Bring in an arborist to offer an expert opinion on whether the areas surrounding your managed property is safe.
    9. Wrap your pipes. This is especially important in the coldest parts of the building. There are many inexpensive products you can use, including self-sealing foam tubes to insulative tape.
    10. Assess your parking garage. Is it in good shape?  Be proactive and patch cracks in the garage before salt can seep in and corrode the rebar. Cracks in the walls of the parking garage can result in drafts and a buildup of ice over time. Do a walk-through inspection with your superintendent to survey the situation.
    11. Inspect your irrigation system. A resident could suffer a major injury by slipping on an  icy walk created by a sprinkler system left on during a freeze. Make sure the freeze sensor on your sprinkler systems are working properly before the temperatures get too cold. Also, If you know for certain a hard freeze is on the way, don’t rely on electronic devices to save a lawsuit. While a freeze sensor helps, the foolproof way to manage your sprinkler system in cold weather is shutting off the water source.
    12. Keep locker area free of clutter. Refrain from piling things high on top of the locker area, usually located in your property’s basement. This is not only a fire hazard but can spell big trouble if something falls up top and hurts a resident or worker.

By: Lisa Marie Brennan