Apartment Living BlogFeatured › Winterizing Checklist to Prepare Your Apartment Community

The temperatures are dropping, and it’s time for apartment managers to winterize their buildings. But the actual building maintenance is only the first step to getting ready for the winter. From checking the plumbing, shoveling the sidewalks to communicating with residents, here are the three key categories of activity that you’ll need to address to have a smooth winter season.

Maintenance Tasks Before Winter Sets In

There are many things that you can do in advance of the cold weather to prepare your apartment building. When it comes to winterizing your apartment community, being proactive can ensure that you don’t encounter problems. Plus it is much easier to address building concerns before snow is piled up outside.


When preparing your apartment building for severe cold, start by inspecting your heating system. If you don’t have anyone qualified on your staff, call in the professionals to make sure the building furnace is running smoothly and your heat system is both efficient and safe.


Next, look at the building’s plumbing system. Start by draining any exterior faucets, and check your pipes to make sure they have proper insulation and are not susceptible to freezing. Insulation is especially important in crawl spaces and attics, where temperatures may not be as consistent as they are in interior spaces. While checking your plumbing, it’s also a good time to inspect the building structure itself to make sure there are not any gaps that can cause cold air drafts.


Lastly, make sure that you have proper equipment on hand and that any machinery has been serviced. Your snowblowers will likely need a tune-up, and this is also a good time to make sure you have a working backup generator on hand. Also, to protect your renters, be sure that you have carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout the building. Check your local carbon monoxide detector requirements to confirm that you are up to code.


Communicating With Your Renters About Wintery Conditions

During the winter months, your renters can either be your biggest asset or your worst nightmare. When communication channels are open, your residents can be your on-the-ground eyes and ears to proactively alert you if there are any problems, such as frozen pipes or the heat beginning to fail. On the flipside, bad communication can result in your renters accidentally damaging your building if they’re unaware of proper winter maintenance.


In advance of a storm, it can be helpful to send your residents a message so they know who to call if there’s a power failure or if they see any icy sidewalks. Along with opening the doors of communication, it’s also a great chance to offer them a reminder on how to prepare for the storm, including tips like supplies they should keep on hand.


To keep everyone in the loop, set up a message schedule for resident communications. As the winter months roll on, these messages can include suggestions on how they can lower their power bill or winter safety tips for pets. Even better, if you have a texting app like Community Messenger, share alerts and announcements instantly via text, which has proven to be especially valuable for property managers during severe weather including hurricanes.


Throughout the winter, it’s important to do regular and ongoing building checks. While it may seem unnecessary, these inspections can help you get ahead of any maintenance problems so that you don’t have the dreaded 3 A.M. building emergency call.


Just as you did in the beginning of the winter, go through each of your building systems to make sure that everything is functioning properly.


Start with your heating system, which will be getting a workout throughout the cold weather. Inspect the system to look for any problem indicators. Also, be sure to change the HVAC air filters at recommended intervals. Then continue your building inspection to check your plumbing, structure, and equipment.


As big winter storms come through, be sure that you also have a process for dealing with the snow. Sidewalks and parking lots need to be cleared regularly to keep safe conditions for your residents. Also be sure that you address any major snow accumulation on your roof to prevent water leaks or damage from the weight.


With so many tasks to address during the winter, it can be a very busy season. ForRent.com is here to help. Follow our Apartment Professionals Blog to learn about tips and trends, and review our marketing solutions to see how we can help you streamline your business operations.

Katie Glaser


Katie Glaser has been a marketing communications professional for over 15 years. Specializing in real estate marketing, she has overseen the digital marketing and editorial content initiatives for residential and multifamily property listing sites, Homes.com and ForRent.com. A Virginia Beach local, Katie holds a B.S. Communications degree from Old Dominion University and previously held a Virginia real estate license.

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