Prepare Now for Winter Fuel Efficiency

iStock_000001333763lowKeeping your building running smoothly throughout the cold winter months is always a challenge. By preparing early, your property can save money, reduce fuel consumption, and increase the comfort and convenience of residents. By following these strategies for winter preparation, your building can batten down the hatches against the coming cold, maintain clear and safe common areas, and keep fuel costs down this winter. It’s best to start preparations early before the first winter weather hits.

• Review and restock your inventory of snow/storm related items, including Ice and Snow Melt, which were in short supply last winter
• Service the snow blower
• Check the supply and condition of snow shovels
• Clean and prepare winter uniforms, including work gloves and winter gear
• Close off automatic irrigation systems and drain lines
• Schedule year-end service for central air systems
• Schedule pre-season inspection of heating systems
• Close, service and install insulation covers on through-wall and window A/C units
• Secure all items on roofs and balconies to immobilize them in the event of a wind storm
• Move all planters away from walls to allow snow removal around perimeter
• Inspect all-weather carpets and runners to ensure good condition
• Review emergency procedures for residents and staff, and update as needed
• Review and update list of residents with special needs in case they need assistance
• Review and update telephone call list for staff in case there is a problem with public transportation
• Be sure list of staff cell phone numbers is accurate and up to date.
• Prepare a list of staff members who are available to come in early in case of emergency or storm
• Have petty cash available for coffee and food pizza for staff if there is an extended work period
• Have trees on the property trimmed to remove dead or broken limbs
• Call 311 for street trees that need pruning
• Have working thermometers on hand to check heat levels in apartments and public areas
• Check areas where pipes have frozen before to make sure they are well insulated and or protected
• Check exterior doors for weather stripping
• Clean out problem drains that may have backed up before
• Call 311 if there are public drains that need to be attended

Winter Energy Conservation

When it’s cold outside, it’s nice to have a warm place to come home to. There’s a lot that you can do to help keep your apartment cozy while also keeping heating costs in check for the entire building.

The manager, super and staff will attend to building-wide maintenance issues such as annual cleaning and overhaul of the boiler/burner, servicing radiator steam traps, checking pipe insulation, and draining outdoor water sources.

But there is a lot that individual residents can do to help. Be sure your windows are closed and locked. For extra insulation, use curtains or shades. Leaky windows may warrant plastic covers or foam insulation that fits into the seams.

Most buildings control unit thermostats from one central location. By programming daytime heat to around 68 degrees and nighttime temps to around 62 to 65 degrees, the building can save thousands of dollars in fuel. Rather than ask the doorman if the heat can be turned up, keep a sweater handy if you are at home and feeling less than toasty.

Be sure to report any overheated areas, as they can indicate a problem in the heat distribution system. If your unit has a fireplace, be sure that flues are closed in cold weather and that chimneys are cleaned out annually. Your super should monitor fuel usage throughout the winter, comparing it to the previous year, to be sure there are no drastic changes, which could indicate a problem.

With taxes and common charges constantly on the rise, one of the best ways that residents can control their costs is to be proactive about energy conservation.

To help keep your apartment warm in the winter, and save on fuel, be sure your windows are closed and locked. For extra insulation, use thermal shades.

To help keep your apartment warm in the winter, and save on fuel, be sure your windows are closed and locked. For extra insulation, use thermal shades.