By Steve Boudreault, Buildium, Boston, MA
Here in Boston, one doesn’t even need to set foot outside to know that the first Arctic blast of the season is upon us. Twitter hashtags like #brrrr and #cantfeelmytoes tell a frigid story. Facebook posts like “It’s colder than a tin toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg!” really paint a picture. It’s cold.
Well, like it or not, winter is well and truly here, and for property managers and landlords that means winterizing the property to avoid the headaches and expenses that this harsh season can bring with it. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you through until the forsythia blooms once again.
Heating the Empty Spaces
The idea of keeping the heat on in a unit that isn’t even occupied may chafe you to no end, but the bill for the destruction that frozen pipes can cause will be even worse. You don’t need to set the thermostat to Florida, but make sure it’s at least North Carolina.
Sealing the Deal
Speaking of heat, did you know that windows, doors, and even wire entry points that aren’t caulked or stripped properly can cost you 10% more on annual heating costs? That’s just burning money, honey. A $5 tube of caulk can save you big over the long haul.
Keeping the Fire Burning
Because they tend to be tucked away in service closets or spooky basements, heaters can tend to be out of sight, out of mind. But heaters need love too. Be sure to get them serviced at least once a year to make sure they’re running at peak efficiency and to stave off any problems. They’ve got a long season ahead too.
Storming the Castle
If you’ve got storm windows on your property, now’s the time to drop them into place. You can either send out a request to your tenants, asking them to swap screens for storms, or let them know that a maintenance person will be coming by to do so. Either way, batten down the hatches.
Laying it Flat
The jump from the heating bill in August to the heating bill in January can be a little jarring. Some utility companies will bill you at a flat rate — that is, they’ll take all 12 months of the year and average them out, and then charge you the same amount every month. If you’re in a seasonal climate and you can get in on this deal, it will likely spare lots of cursing when the cold rolls in.
Here in New England, there’s not much more we can do in the winter than hunker down and wait it out. Hopefully these ideas will help you do just that. Anyone else got some cold-surviving tips they’d like to share?
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