Winter Woes Be Prepared for the Worst

It’s a well-known fact that New Yorkers are tough. But even the bravest Big Apple resident shivers just a little bit when the first signs of winter settle over the city. Winter and the inevitable snow and ice that accompany it take their toll not only on the people of New York but on the places in which they live. From high rises to townhouses to the community association bungalows, every home must be protected against the onslaught of winter weather that can damage pipes, roofs, windows and sidewalks. For the men and women whose job it is to make sure that damage is minimal or—ideally—non-existent, preparations start early and require and ongoing vigilance.

Getting Ahead of the Curve

With the right preparation, however, winter need not wreak too much havoc. It’s all about just being ready. “You want to start sealing the building up like a private house,” says Peter M. Roach, a resident manager in Manhattan and president of the Superintendents Technical Association. “You start at the top and close up any gaps, doors and windows. You want to slide things under doors and go around and do your weather stripping.”

For William Pyznar, principal engineer of Falcon Engineering in Bridgewater, New Jersey, the process of winterizing a building should start early, in September or October. And he agrees that one of the first steps should be inspecting doors and windows and closing up any areas where cold air can enter or warm air can exit. “If the windows are in good condition, just make sure they’re locked and shut,” he says. “If they’re older, make sure the weather stripping is good. Look at the seals on the outside of the windows. Make sure they’re still in good shape.”

It is also possible to check where drafts are in order to eliminate or reduce the loss of heat before winter hits. “You could do an infrared scan to see where there are drafts and that will show where you are missing insulation,” says Pyznar.

John Colella, president of YES Property Management Group, LLC, in Nutley, New Jersey, urges a walk around community association properties to inspect the common areas and recreational areas. “By October, you better be on top of everything,” he says. “Develop a checklist to outline the various common area conditions and be proactive to the circumstances that need attention prior to the winter season.”

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