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Regional Winter Maintenance Tips from Experts Around the Country

As the winds of winter are blowing, it’s not too late to prepare our communities for the season – but winter looks much different depending on where you’re located. That’s why we polled Associa OnCall’s (AOC) regional field directors to find out which maintenance tasks are recommended for boards in different areas of the country. Use these recommendations to help you take the proper steps to winterize your association’s property, no matter what winter looks like for you.

East Coast Tips

•  Check attic insulation. Be sure attic insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves to prevent winter ice dams on the roof.
•  Call a professional to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
•  Consider having a heating professional check your heating system. This ensures optimal performance and helps you discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs.

-Rob Hastings, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®
AOC Regional Field Services Director, 
Northeast Region 

West Coast Tips

•  Inspect painted exterior areas. Any chipped or bare areas should be painted as soon as possible. Paint and surface coverings like stains protect components from damaging water intrusion and other damaging elements like pests.
•  Inspect your roof or hire a professional to conduct an inspection. Be sure that tiles are in good shape, areas surrounding protrusions are properly sealed and flashing is sitting properly.
•  Check eave or gable vents to ensure screens are intact. Rodents and other pests can easily make their way into warm, cozy attics through these access points if not properly secured.

-Lucinda Hoe, CMCA®
AOC Regional Field Services Director, 
West Region 

Florida Tips

•  Pressure wash. With the rainy season behind us, it’s a good time to clean the mold and mildew that’s a fact of life in the south. Buildings, fences, driveways, and sidewalks should be done annually to keep your community looking its best. 
•  Spruce up landscaping. Fall/winter is the time to plant and/or trim community landscape elements as they are less stressed and recover better than when done during the high heat of summer. Just remember to keep all new plants well-watered for about 30 days after planting as they establish a new root system.
•  Cycle the heater/furnace. Although most people don’t think of Florida and many areas of the south as an area that uses much heat, there will be a few mornings when a little heat will be a welcome way to take the chill out of the house. If you’ve had you’re A/C unit cleaned and serviced annually as recommended, chances are the heating elements of the unit will work just fine, but it’s better to find out before you need it. Don’t be too alarmed if there’s a “funny smell” when you turn the unit on for the first time after sitting unused for an extended period – the smell is caused by dust that has accumulated and it’s completely normal. Of course, if there is smoke or if the smell continues after the first time, immediately turn off the unit and call a certified technician for service.

-Thomas Schewe 
AOC Regional Field Services Director, 

General Maintenance Tips

•  Check building and personal life safety equipment. If you don’t already have a scheduled maintenance program for smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, emergency lighting, etc., start one now. 
•  Inspect windows and doors, both inside and outside. Be sure the seal around the window or door is not cracked or failing. Caulk cracks and install weather stripping where the seal has failed. Replace any broken window glass, too.
•  Clean and replace filters in your heating system. If you have a gas heater, be sure to inspect the pilot light to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. You can contact your local gas and electric providers to schedule an inspection.