Winter can be an unpredictable time in New York. A well-seasoned New Yorker battles snow, winds, rain and bitter cold with gusto. Can you say the same for your building? Managers, and maintenance staff need to make sure their buildings are ready for whatever may come—and that means taking care of seasonal winterizing tasks before the first flakes fall.
The Winter Checklist:
- Make sure the sealant around windows is soft, pliable and still has some elasticity. Brittle caulking will have problems all winter long.
- Inspect the steel lintel—that little piece of metal over every single window head that supports the brick above the window. If allowed to rust, the lintels will eventually buckle and fail, causing the bricks above them to become loose and allowing water penetration and even more damage.
- Bear in mind that new cement should not be poured in the winter due to cold temperatures, so be sure to have any cement or masonry-related repairs done before winter sets in.
- Check for drafts in the basement. An infrared thermometer will allow you to see where the heat may be escaping. For that matter, taking a lit candle down into your basement can also be effective. If the flame of the candle moves or flickers, then you have air movement and likely have leaks to fix.
- Boilers must be tuned, cleaned, and tested for heating production before winter arrives. Brushing and vacuuming the boiler before breaking the oil or gas burner down, repair any wear-and-tear on parts, and clean all components thoroughly to be as close to new as possible.
- Descale the pipes: The waterside of the boiler has to be cleaned as well. This removes scale, sediment and mud, which if not cleaned, can result in weakening the boiler.
- The typical flat roof should be prepared with an ultraviolet roof coating, which contains reflective silver additives and creates a barrier that will insulate your building and protect it against ice and snow.
- Make sure roof drains remain clear and free of any debris
You don’t want to wait until the cold weather actually arrives to start thinking about winterizing your building. Encourage building staff to bring any potential issues to management’s attention. This is the time you should be making repairs and doing preventative maintenance, if only to avoid exorbitant repair fees, mechanical failures, and potential liability.