The cold winter months can wreak havoc on your properties. Water may find its way into the smallest cracks and with the cold weather it will freeze and expand, potentially causing damage as it pushes everything out of its way. Ice can build up on top of structures crushing them or pulling things apart with the weight of hanging icicles. Winter is no friend to man made structures.
As the weather improves and spring arrives it’s a good time to visit your properties and see how well they have fared over the winter months. Pay extra attention to the areas which are most vulnerable to winter woes and address issues before they get out of hand. It’s also the perfect opportunity to prepare for the coming seasons and ensure your property remains in good condition and your tenants stay happy.
Here are some key areas to look at during your spring inspections and some maintenance tasks you should perform in spring.
1. Inspect The Roof
Spring is the time to pull out that ladder and take a close look at your roof. Water getting underneath shingles can cause a lot of damage when it freezes and that will become a big concern when snow turns to rain. Inspect the shingles to ensure they are properly secured, in good condition, and that none are missing.
Animals can cause damage to roofs during the cold months as they search for a place to keep warm over the winter. They may loosen shingles and soffits or chew holes wherever they feel there’s a chance to get in. Inspect the whole roof and everywhere around it.
2. Check The Eavestroughs
Eavestroughs, sometimes called gutters, need to be cleaned in the fall and they need to be inspected in the spring. Ice buildup can warp gutters or even pull them away from the house. This can cause water to collect in the low spots and pour out the side instead of being directed towards the downspouts
3. Work On Your Landscaping
Spring is a good time to put new plants in the ground and improve your curb appeal. Trees and shrubs should be pruned in the spring before they get their leaves. Lawns need some attention at this time of year too. Seed and fertilize in the spring for a thick and lush lawn all summer long.
4. Prep The Air Conditioner
Once the hot summer months arrive, your tenants will expect the air conditioner to consistently pump out cool air. Keep them happy by prepping your air conditioner in the spring. Inspect and service the unit to ensure it’s ready when the first heatwave hits.
5. Open Foundation Vents
Homes with a crawl space instead of a basement may have foundation vents. They are important because they help circulate air underneath the floor in the summer preventing moisture buildup. Too much moisture under the house can lead to mold and rot.
In the winter, when the air is drier, these vents should be closed to keep the cold out and reduce the likelihood of pipes freezing. When the temperature rises and spring begins the vents need to be opened again. This is also a good time to give them a good cleaning and remove any debris which might impede the airflow.
6. Check Paths, Driveways, and Parking Lots
Ice, snow, and salt can be destructive to asphalt and concrete. Cracks form allowing water in where it can erode the soil and sand underneath causing further damage. Check all paths, driveways, and parking areas. Arrange to get cracks sealed and conduct repairs quickly before they become bigger issues.
7. Get Your Irrigation System Running
In the fall your irrigation system was flushed and turned off. With the warmer weather your lawns will need to be watered again. It’s important to get your sprinklers turned back on and have the system tested to ensure it will remain operational while it’s needed.
8. Inspect All Exterior Walls
Spring is a good time to do a thorough inspection of all exterior walls. Crafty critters can pull away siding, chew holes, and cause all sorts of damage trying to shelter themselves from the cold. Take a walk around the building looking for signs of damage and make repairs. If left unchecked, the damage will likely get worse allowing the elements to get in and inviting animals to make your property their home.
9. Check All Windows
The changing temperatures over the winter months can put stress on windows and sills causing them to crack or warp. This can allow moisture to get in which can lead to mold. It also allows air to escape, raising the costs of heating and air conditioning.
Do a visual inspection for signs of damage and seal any holes. Modern windows have a sealed glass unit and if the seal is compromised moisture gets in. It will show up as condensation between the two panes of glass. Not only is it visually unappealing but it also makes the window less effective.
10. Check The Furnace
After a long winter of hard work, it’s a good idea to check the furnace. This is the time to get it serviced. If you wait until the fall to discover issues, you may have to wait before a technician can come out to make repairs and that can negatively impact your tenants. Don’t forget to replace the filter as well.
11. Check For Moisture Buildup
Spring tends to be the wet season when things thaw and snow turns to rain. When the ground is well saturated is a good time to check for leaks in basements. Look for visible signs of water and touch walls to see if they feel moist.
After a good rain is the ideal time to look in attics for signs of water getting in. Look in the attic itself but check ceilings and walls on the top floor as well. Keeping moisture out is the best preventative maintenance as water damage can be incredibly costly to repair.
Spring is a busy time for landlords and property managers but it’s important to keep on top of maintenance. Conducting inspection and repairs in a timely manner prevents property damage and disgruntled tenants. Stay organized, delegate tasks, and keep key stakeholders informed with Property Matrix. It’s state of the art software designed to make property management simple.