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Preparing for the winter makes sense now

Preparing for the winter makes sense now
As the year winds down and winter is right around the corner, it’s time to prepare your community to meet the onslaught of cold, snow, sleet, wind and generally icy conditions, if you haven’t already done so.
For some, this may not be as obvious as it should be. In fact, studies show that many of us are procrastinators when it comes to dealing with seasonal changes. All the more reason why I’d say now is the time to change that paradigm and get proactive with winterizing your community now.
If you haven’t already begun that process, we can help. FOURMIDABLE is committed to partnering with our management teams, and developing solid plans for whatever this winter may bring.
Where to begin?
So, what are some obvious things that need to be done? Before we talk about big picture issues – those tips that will help the entire complex, apartment buildings, townhouses and community in general – we should mention the importance of working with your residents.
Partnering with residents, informing them of things they can do as well to ensure their homes are warm and cozy, is a great place to start. 
For example, if your apartments are equipped with storm windows, you need to remind residents to close them as the season gets colder. Other examples include advising people to keep curtains closed during the daytime and having them check for drafts through doors or windows.
Our residents are what make our communities and having constant communication with them is essential. Encourage them to report all maintenance issues and suggest ways they can prepare for the worse-case scenarios – like power outages or massive snow storms that leave people unable to get out of the complex. That might mean telling them about how to prepare an emergency kit to keep in their apartment or their vehicle.
Make arrangements with your vendors
Next, make sure all of your contracts are in place for snow removal, HVAC, plumbing and other maintenance repair/replacement items during the winter months. If you have your own equipment, ensure all of it is in working order and that your inventory is stocked.
If you have a contractor, it is critical your arrangements are in place and your vendor is properly prepared, especially when you consider the potential labor shortages already being talked about by local municipalities concerned about snow removal.
Commit to preparing exteriors and common areas
When it comes to larger, complex-wide issues, it's highly important to check furnace and boiler units. This simple task, and other critical preventative maintenance, can often go a long way in helping you avoid larger, more costly repairs.
Building windows should be examined for caulking; gutters should be cleaned of debris and properly drained so they function effectively throughout the winter. Poor gutter maintenance can lead to dangerous ice and snow buildup.
As you inspect building exteriors, also examine the walls, door frames and even the roofs. As I noted, repairing damaged caulk or drafty spots can keep cold weather out and heat in. You may want to wrap exterior pipes in common areas along exterior walls.
Heavy rain, snow and winds can also cause damage. It’s worthwhile to inspect trees and any large bushes that may need to be trimmed or removed before they can cause further damage when carrying a heavy load of snow.
Insulation is a complex topic in that there are many options and ways to approach how you might want to handle it, especially in common areas. Plastic wrapping, form products and other exterior insulators may not be pretty but they provide comfort in knowing they work to keep pipes from freezing or windows leaking. Weather stripping doors and windows may also be needed.
There’s a great deal of thought and planning when it comes to taking good care of your community.  Even in more temperate areas, many of these suggestions have some practical value.
Ultimately, the most important thing is to be prepared. Take the time now to review, plan and put in motion some of your winter needs and hopefully it will be a season you can manage versus one you struggle through.