Preventive maintenance is the greatestway to address problems while they are cheap and easy to remedy, before theybecome huge, time consuming tasks involving lots of money. There are a fewaspects of your properties that can be monitored and maintained to help avoidexpensive repairs down the line, especially as winter approaches. 1. Inspect vacant units. It isimportant at this time of year to make sure all unoccupied spaces in yourfacility are winterized.
One burst pipe in a vacant space can be a nightmarefor your tenants and cause you unnecessary grief. Vacant spaces in shopping centers typicallydo not require gas during the summer months. However, during the winter months,gas and electric are required to operate gas-powered HVAC units. It is easierto check that the gas and electric are both turned on well before winterweather hits. Utility companies often have long wait times for turning the gason or setting a meter. Lack of heat can cause the water pipes to freeze, whichcan lead to cracking, breaks, and expensive water losses.
2. Seal Cracks in the sidewalk and asphalt. Winter weather can be brutal to concrete and asphalt. Open cracks willallow water to penetrate, freeze, and swell causing even more deterioration.3. Stock up early on ice melt, shovels, and de-icer. Places have been known to run out if you waituntil a storm hits. It’s also importantto get the right product.
Using standardrock salt on sidewalks can cause deterioration and damage.4. Protect the pipes in all unheated areas of your building, as they arethe ones most likely to freeze. Use insulation tubes made of polyethylene orfiberglass to add an extra layer of defense. These can be purchased from mosthardware and supply stores.
5. Check all boilers, furnaces and HVAC systems. Have the maintenancecompleted early so you don’t end up waiting on repairmen after a leak hasoccurred. The heating portion of theHVAC units is typically not utilized in the spring and summer.
The simple lackof use can cause a unit to function incorrectly. It is best to have the unitsinspected, serviced and tested by a professional prior to winter arriving. Ifheat is needed quickly due to imminent weather, an electric space heater canprovide a temporary solution that won’t impact the systems themselves.6.
Inspect all fireplaces. TheNational Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, “Chimneys,fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness,freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, andrepairs shall be done if necessary.” This is the current national safetystandard and is the correct way to be proactive in preventing problems.
Ittakes into account the fact that even if you don’t use your chimney often, animalscan build nests in the flue or there may be other types of deterioration thatcould make the chimney unsafe to use. Chimney Fires occur muchmore often than people realize. We have over 25,000 chimney fires in the United States annually.
This accounts for over120 million dollars in damage to property every year. Thousands of injuries andeven many deaths result every year from chimney fires that spread to the structure of the home.7. Check your windows and doors. I. Clear out the sills and gutters. Make sure water has a place to go if itbegins to accumulate.
Weep holes inwindows were designed to allow water to “weep” out, but if they are clogged thewater can end up in the interior of a structure.II. Check weather stripping on windows and doors. Re-attach or replace looseor worn weather stripping around windows and doors. Loose weather stripping canlet cold air in and reduce energy efficiency.III.
To help reduce potential drafts and leaks, reapply caulk or sealantaround windows and doors.8. Check all of the exterior seals of your building to ensure you arekeeping the cold out and the heat in (Vents, masonry control joints, roofing,and gutters). Cracked or deteriorated wood on the roof or near the foundationis typically associated with water penetration and may allow moisture or coldair to leak into your home. (Leading to more costly repairs). Look closely forsigns of moisture leakage and replace damaged wood. Consult a professional tohelp correct any roof or drainage problems around your home.
I. Typical signs of water intrusion are water accumulation; discolorationof ceiling or walls; changes in the texture of the ceiling or walls; warping orbuckling of floors; sagging or sinking of floors; and often times odors causedby mold and mildew.9.
Select good entrance mats. Placemats on both the inside and outside of the entrances and exits. This will also alleviate potential slips andfalls. 10. Have a list of preferred vendors ready. Check references, insurance, and credentials before an emergency occurs.
Preferred Vendors deliver the best overallvalue to the based on price, response time capabilities, quality of workmanship,past performance, training, and ease of retaining services. Many vendors offertraining to ensure the facility staff is knowledgeable about the equipment usedwhen pipe freezes and floods occur. This also helps in keeping the expenses ata minimum when emergencies occur.