As the leaves change color and the temperature begins dropping, fall presents an excellent opportunity for community associations to prepare their neighborhoods for winter weather. From common areas to landscaping and amenities, there are several tasks board members should address during the fall season to ensure a smooth transition into winter.
Inspect for Water and Roof Damage
One essential task in preparing your community for winter is to thoroughly inspect common areas and buildings. Check for any signs of water damage, such as leaks or dampness on ceilings and walls. It's imperative to address these issues promptly to prevent further damage, especially if freezing temperatures and snow are on the horizon.
Additionally, pay close attention to the condition of the roofs on common area buildings. Ensure that shingles are intact (if applicable) and there are no visible signs of damage. Leaky roofs can result in significant problems during winter, including ice buildup and interior water damage.
Clear Gutters and Storm Drains
Clogged gutters and storm drains can lead to water pooling around the property, which can cause damage and create hazardous conditions during winter. To prevent this, fall is the ideal time to clear gutters and storm drains of debris, leaves, and other obstructions. Keeping these clear will help manage rain and snowmelt effectively, reducing the risk of water-related problems.
Fall is also the perfect time to address landscaping concerns within your community. Collaborate with your landscaping service provider to inspect and maintain common areas. Some essential tasks include planting shrubs and fertilizing plants, which will promote healthy growth in the spring. Pruning trees and removing dead branches is crucial to ensure safety and help to prevent any potential damage to structures during winter storms. It is important to note that all irrigation systems should be drained and shut off prior to the first freezing temperatures.
HVAC System Inspection:
Maintaining a comfortable environment for residents during the colder months is essential. Ensure the HVAC systems in common areas and amenities are in optimal working condition. It is advisable to have a preventative maintenance plan in place with a trusted service provider. Regular HVAC system checks can identify and address potential issues, preventing costly breakdowns in the dead of winter.
Gather Winter Supplies:
Community associations should be well-prepared to handle winter weather and its associated challenges. Stocking up on essential winter supplies is a practical step to take. Gather shovels, salt, and ice scrapers to tackle snow and ice accumulation promptly. If your community streets are private, determine an ice and snow removal policy and communicate the policy to the residents. The responsibility for clearing the streets (or sidewalks and parking lot in a condominium) will belong to the association if the policy states ice and snow will be removed. If your streets are public, local authorities will be responsible for clearing them.
The Role of the Management Company
You may be wondering, “How do I relay this information to members?”. That’s where the management company can assist by sending out e-blasts reminding everyone what needs to be done to prepare for winter when bad weather is imminent. Further, the management company can put your board in touch with trusted service providers who have been properly vetted and have a proven reputation for doing excellent work.
In conclusion, fall is a crucial time for community associations to perform appropriate maintenance tasks in preparation for the winter season. These pragmatic steps can help ensure the safety and well-being of residents and protect the community's infrastructure from the harsh effects of winter weather. By addressing common areas, buildings, landscaping, HVAC systems, and winter supplies, communities can be well-equipped to transition smoothly into the colder months.
About Community Association Management Services
In business since 1991, CAMS is North and South Carolina’s premier community management company. With experienced local managers in each of its nine regions, CAMS provides innovative solutions to the community associations it serves. Additionally, CAMS was featured on Inc. Magazine’s 2022 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. To learn more, visit www.camsmgt.com/choose-cams.
Emma Dill - Dec 4, 2023
Staff Reports - Dec 4, 2023
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