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It’s been a long, hot summer, but as the calendar gradually turns to October, fall is here and before you know it, the cold winter weather will be here, too. As a building owner or Facilities Manager here are a few things you can do to ensure you and your buildings are ready for the change in seasons:
Perform Roof Inspections
Look for areas of loose shingles, especially around the building eaves where ice dams can form during winter, which allow moisture to enter under the shingles. In addition, check flashings at vertical wall intersections, chimneys, and plumbing vent boots to confirm there are no holes or other damage that can allow water to enter the building during heavy rain or snow. Adequate roof maintenance not only reduces leaks, but extends the life of your roofing systems.
Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Ensure all gutters and downspouts are clear from debris so that they adequately drain water away. This continues to be important as the season progresses and leaves begin to fall. Consider pruning overhanging trees at this time to keep the leaves and debris off the roof. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up, which will damage the roof and the trim around the roof and soffits, as well as exterior siding or paint.
Inspect All Exterior Doors and Windows
Check to make sure that caulking is still flexible and is sealing any gaps between window/door frames and exterior walls. This ensures the warm air stays inside the building during the winter and seals the exterior building envelope from water penetration and leaks. For added energy savings, check the weather stripping at all exterior door frames to make sure it’s still in place and serving its intended purpose.
Check Exterior Faucets and Service Irrigation System
Install frost-proof exterior hose bib faucets or drain older non-frost-proof faucets to keep them from freezing and breaking during the winter. This is also a good time to have the underground irrigation system serviced and prepared for winter by a qualified irrigation contractor.
Exterior Site Concrete and Asphalt Pavement
Perform regular sealing of exterior cracks in sidewalks and paved areas during the fall. Water that freezes inside these cracks can cause the concrete to spall and deteriorate, leading to more costly repairs later.
Tune Up Your Heating System
Inspect all the furnaces and heat pumps to ensure they are clean and operating properly with clean filters. Clogged and dirty filters cause the heating system to waste energy while heating the building to your desired set point temperatures. Check carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they are operational. A qualified HVAC contractor will not only perform a visual inspection of your heating system, but will also remove covers and check filters, check blowers, ensure flues are clear and operating properly, and perform other safety checks that will assure a safe and warm environment for your tenants this winter.
Putting these items on your fall “To-Do List” over the next month or two will help ensure energy-efficient, dry, and comfortable buildings this winter.