President and CEO,
Matthew Adam Properties, Inc.
While much of our attention over the past nearly three years has been on Covid-19, properties need to remain vigilant about proper upkeep and maintanenace of the physical structure. While we do not know when the next variant will come, or its impact, we do know that the proper vaccine for buildings is preparedness, especially for winter when the elements can create havoc. Fall is the time to start preparations to lessen the possibility of damage to both the building’s interior and exterior.
While our asset managers and building staffs are vigilant throughout the year to ensure all systems are operating properly and necessary repairs are made when problems arise, we pay special attention during the fall to make certain that we are prepared for the winter days. There are numerous items on our checklist.
One essential matter requiring an early start is bringing in a professional boiler company while the heating systems are down during the summer to clean the boiler, inspect to see what repairs, if any, are required and test the system. Failure to do this can lead to a breakdown during a frigid day and increased expense. Dirt build-up in boilers significantly reduces their efficiency adding energy costs. In recent years, many properties we manage have converted to gas, a cleaner fuel that reduces both maintenance costs and the possibility of dirt build-up. Fuel usage is monitored during the winter months for non-weather-related increases, often a sign of boiler or delivery system problems.
Pipe insulation is checked to reduce the loss of heat, maintain maximum efficiency and reduce pipes freezing.
The roof is another important area. We make certain all debris is removed and the drains are clear. Often during cold spells snow and ice freezes on the drains and when they thaw, the drains can’t handle the flow which can accumulate on the roof and seep into units below.
Another area to check is terraces. Residents should follow the same procedures to see whether drains are clogged and barriers need repair.
Many buildings have roof-top water tanks which require monitoring. If controls operating the wood tanks and the piping aren’t properly insulated or protected, water can freeze within the tank. Slight leaks on the tank can freeze and expand the wood leading to damage when the ice thaws.
If a building has window air conditioning units that remain year-round, we work with the residents to be certain they are properly sealed to prevent draughts and the loss of heat. If the units are removed, we ask residents to notify building staff so we can check if there is damage to the casement causing loss of heat.
Exterior water lines exposed to the cold are shut down and drained to prevent the pipes from bursting during extreme cold.
Units with working fireplaces need to have them professionally inspected and cleaned prior to the winter when they receive the most use. Flew dampers need to be open and operating correctly to prevent backdrafts causing smoke damage to walls, furniture and paintings.
Winter preparation includes checking supplies so the building is prepared for a snowstorm. This has become a bigger issue with supply chain disruptions We want to have adequate sand and sidewalk ice melt to last through a heavy snow season and not have to scurry around to find more when it is needed. We check to insure there is sufficient snow removal equipment.
From experience, we understand the importance of taking the steps discussed above, and others, to ensure that the residents of properties we manage have a warm and safe winter.
President and CEO
Matthew Adam Properties, Inc.
375 Pearl Street – 14th Floor
New York, NY 10038