Rick Perini – Senior Project Manager and Consultant
While the harsh winter weather is behind us, experienced property managers know that the change of season mean it’s now time to conduct a comprehensive spring cleanup and prepare for potential rain storms and significant fluctuations in temperature. Cleaning and maintenance of properties should be done inside and out to help ensure the property is properly maintained and preventive measures are taken to minimize damage. To help our colleagues and their residents in this effort, we have outlined key spring cleaning activities to consider.
To prevent potential fires, it is important to check electrical outlets, inside and outside of the property, to identify any potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Outlets fuse boxes and extension cords should also be checked to ensure they are not overloaded. In addition, a comprehensive review of fire extinguishers is encouraged, including the hose and nozzle to ensure they are in good working condition and that the pressure gauge is in the “green” range. This is also a good time to ensure all fire extinguishers are accessible in the event of an emergency.
Dryers can also be a potential fire hazard as dryer lint can build up inside the vent pipe and collect around the duct. Take time to clean both the clothes dryer exhaust duct and the space under the dryer. We recommend using a specialized brush to clean out the vent pipe and rely on a professional to clean out lint that may have built up inside the dryer enclosure.
Daylight savings time is a perfect time to change the batteries in all smoke detectors. We recommend inspecting each smoke detector to ensure all are in working order, and test them monthly. While doing so, this is an ideal time to also check light bulbs throughout the property – are you using the correct recommended wattage? Are there bulbs that can be replaced with fluorescent or LED bulbs to reduce energy and amount of heat produced? Any that have burned out and need to be replaced?
Head to the basement and check the water heater for leaks and corrosion and the furnace to ensure the filter is in good working condition. And before anyone gets ambitious about turning on the air conditioning units, it’s important to ensure they have been inspected and tuned up a professional.
A warm spring day is also a perfect time to walk around the outside of your property to identify any potential threats to you or your residents, starting with the roof. Specifically, check for any damage from snow or ice, including damage from ice dams, and make any necessary repairs to reduce the possibility of leaks. Meanwhile, this is also a good time to clean the gutters and down spouts of leaves or other debris to keep water flowing and reduce the possibility of water damage.
Landscaping can also present a potential hazard, if not maintained. Visually inspect trees for damage or rot, and remove any dead trees that might blow over in heavy winds or during a storm. Keep healthy bushes and trees trimmed and away from utility wires. Make sure lawn mowers, tractors and other equipment are tuned up before using and store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, locked area. Finally, review all walkways and driveways, and repair any cracks and broken or uneven surfaces to provide a safe, level walking area.This simple exercise of proactively reviewing your property from the inside out, can help eliminate a major facilities headache down the road and safeguard you and your residents from harm.