Although the weather is still warm and vacation memories are fresh, Labor Day should remind all you property managers that the cold season is just around the corner. Fall maintenance must definitely be your priority, especially if you manage properties in areas of the country that can see snow falls as early as September.
Chilly and sometimes soggy weather can be hard to deal with at your properties, so you need to be proactive and do maintenance work regularly in order to avoid unpleasant and costly surprises. We’ve compiled a list of some preventive check ups you should carry out this autumn at all the properties you manage to make sure your residents are satisfied.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 2,500 people die each year, and 12,600 get injured in home fires across the U.S. These types of disasters tend to occur more in winter than in any other season because of the widespread use of fireplaces, heaters, candles or even holiday lights. Planning and acting ahead is the best way to minimize the unwanted effects of a fire at your property. Make sure to remind all of your residents about the proper use of all heating systems and that leaving them unattended can cause irreversible damage.
Double-check that all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms work perfectly. Fireplaces are nice to have in the cold season, especially around Christmas, but they can also be the cause of serious injuries or even casualties. Inspecting them annually is mandatory. You should also perform chimney cleanings each fall as debris buildups or nesting animals are potential hazards.
Roofs, gutters and landscaping
Cleaning or unclogging all gutters might be one of the most time-consuming operations. However, it is essential each fall in order to avoid improper drainage or roof damage. Leaves or other types of debris usually block gutters in autumn and can cause serious problems during the winter if not removed. Always fix minor issues as they arise rather than wait until they get bigger.
Striving for a beautiful yard was certainly an all-summer-long responsibility, but your work is far from done as landscaping is an all year-round project. Before autumn sets in, you will need to reshape and manicure hedges, trim branches, fertilize the grass and store all grills and outdoor hoses. Sprinkler systems must be shut down, while dead plants and flowers need to be pulled out.
Another important step in preparing your properties for the autumn/winter season is getting ready for uninvited guests—mice, spiders, rats, cockroaches or even squirrels or raccoons—that might consider your warm property a cozy shelter. Definitely give your exterminator a call and talk to him about preventative measures.
If you manage properties in the midwest, northeast and northern regions of the country, you will need to do all these as soon as possible. Also, make sure you insulate all water pipes and replace any broken or missing shingles. Preparing heating systems, ensuring proper airflow, vacuuming vents before the first use of the season and checking the filters should also be part of your schedule during the next few weeks.
Although it might seem like a lot to do, these safety measures are likely to prevent messy situations that might not only cause resident frustration, but also serious destruction.