Maintenance Tips to Help Your Community Prepare for Fall and Winter
As the hazy days of summer start to pass and temperatures go down, it’s essential that your community association begins to change its maintenance activities. Using the fall to prepare for winter just makes sense – despite an occasional lingering warmth in the air, we know that cold weather is just around the corner in Pennsylvania. An early start on your fall and winter prep will help keep your operations running smoothly as the seasons and temperatures change – and that will keep your residents happy as well. Here are a few maintenance tips to keep your building or community at its best as the seasons change.
1. Ground and Emergency Lighting
Now that the days are shorter, it’s a good time to check for bad bulbs and any broken lighting fixtures. Lighting improvements are easy to achieve and very effective for lowering costs and improving efficiency for your building or community. Your community association may take this opportunity to do a full LED conversion – a win-win for both reducing your energy costs and protecting the environment. Check with your local utility company about available rebates, or consult with your association management company to learn about those and other valuable cost-savers.
While you’re at it, double-check emergency lighting as well; make sure all batteries and backup power supplies are working and charged correctly. Making sure these emergency needs are in place will save valuable time and effort in the event of a storm. It’s a good time to check the batteries in common area smoke detectors too.
2. Spa and Pool
With the end of summer, it’s time to focus on your swimming pool and surrounding pool area. Check the motors and pumps, and clean and replace the filters. It’s also a good time to take a look at the pipes to see if you have any leaks or corrosion. Filter baskets need to be cleaned and the pump motor and bearings should be lubricated.
Since you will be shutting down your outdoor pool and spa, remember to secure the area for winter. Backwash the filter and drain the water from your filter tank, then drain your pool to the manufacturer-recommended level. Put all the pool equipment away and keep an eye out for any safety or performance issues throughout the winter. Your professional management company can help you find the best vendor for the job.
Just because mowing season is over doesn’t mean you can sit back and ignore your landscaping. Fall is the perfect time to spray for bugs and weeds, and to plant annuals in your landscaping beds. It’s also time for your community association to aerate turf, complete spot seeding in any patchy areas, and do your deep root fertilization. That’s just the beginning: be sure to check your equipment, including your watering timers and irrigation system to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. Don’t forget to roll up and store hoses and to clear away fallen leaves from bushes and drainage areas. Your maintenance staff may be able to perform these activities, but if you need to find qualified landscaping firms, a good community association management company can provide referrals.
After a storm, FirstService Residential Community Manager Lisa Bolin suggests touring the property and reporting storm damage as soon as it’s safe. “You also want to make sure there is a way for the community residents to report anything they see as well and encourage them to do so.”
4. Seasonal Property Décor
Planning on decorating for the holidays? Then get an early start on the festivities by reviewing your decor plans with your management and internal staff, and create a decorating committee to get things rolling. If you need help with electrical items, such as stringing lights and putting up decorations, get your RFP process going with your vendor prospects. One very important piece of advice: if you’re planning to decorate deciduous trees, be absolutely certain that they’re trimmed back before lighting to reduce fire hazards.
5. Individual Homes
Residents should take this time to do some seasonal prep inside their homes, too. “The end of Daylight Savings Time is near, and that’s a great time for residents to change smoke detector batteries, clean or change furnace filters, clean out dryer vents and get heating systems professionally checked and cleaned, if necessary”, says Cynthia Brandt, FirstService Residential Community Manager. Cynthia also likes to remind residents that school will be back in session before you know it and to drive slowly, especially around any bus stops or drop off points in your community.
Fall will be here before you know it, bringing a crispness and lightness to the air – small wonder that it’s many people’s favorite time of year. By taking care of these four key maintenance areas, your community will be ready for the fall and winter – and your residents can enjoy the season’s bounties without leaving home. For more information, contact FirstService Residential, Pennsylvania’s leading community management company.