Ever since people have stopped going to offices, malls, and other commercial establishments, commercial real estate prices saw a plunge—the same trend we saw in previous recessions. Commercial property owners do their best to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. As they wait out the economic downturn, they need to properly maintain their properties even while they remain empty or at limited capacity. Regardless of the number of occupants, commercial properties still need regular upkeep so that they don’t decrease in value and they avoid costlier repair upgrades in the future. Here are some important commercial property maintenance practices owners need to oversee in preparation for winter and during the time of COVID-19.
Inspect the HVAC system.
The colder it gets, the more strain it is on your commercial property’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This is why it’s important to have your HVAC inspected and maintained before winter even arrives, especially since heating buildings make up about 1/3 of the United States’ total energy usage. Here are some inspections you need to make:
- Change the air filters every three months.
- Check if the hoses and blowers have blockages.
- Double-check for issues in your building’s heating systems.
- Observe if there are strange or abnormal odors and sounds.
- Calibrate the thermostats and check if they’re working properly.
- Clear the condensation drain traps.
- Make sure the air vents are spotless and monitor their airflow.
Prevent frozen pipes.
A frozen pipe is one of the worst problems you’ll have to combat during winter because as the temperature drops, your indoor pipes will more likely freeze and eventually burst. This usually happens when you’re not on top of your property’s upkeep. Whenever a pipe freezes, the water inside expands, which can cause increased pressure within the pipes. That’s what will cause them to crack and eventually burst, which can then cause massive property damage. Flooding can cause businesses to close down because dealing with pipe and structural damage can take a long time. It’s important to deal with the possibility of frozen pipes before they even happen. Here are some safety precautions you need to take to avoid it:
- Inspect the exterior and exposed pipes for visible signs of freezing.
- Seal and insulate the cracks and openings around the exterior pipes.
- Look closely for signs of excess moisture and make sure to dry it. ;
- Maintain an interior temperature of 55°F and up, and instruct your property’s tenants to do the same.
Prepare the exteriors for extreme weather.
When you live in an area where freezing weather is nothing new, then as the property owner, you need to be able to act responsibly and quickly by taking the lead in ensuring the safety of your staff and tenants. Here are some precautions you need to take to protect your property and tenants from possible safety hazards:
- Observe the piles of snow that gather around the area and create a schedule that allows for its regular removal, especially if these piles can become hazardous obstacles to foot traffic. ;
- De-ice your sidewalks through a store-bought deicer, or create your own concoction of two parts rubbing alcohol and one part warm water. Place the solution in a spray bottle, then spritz it liberally onto the surface of your driveway or walkway. Watch as it coats and eventually melts the ice.
- Regularly clean and replace wet floor mats in the entryways to help people avoid slipping accidents.
Avoid ice dams.
Even before the snow hits, inspect your building’s roof to check if there are damages that can make it vulnerable to even more damage. When snow gathers on your roof and melts, it slides down towards the gutters, and when the melted snow freezes once again, that’s when an ice dam happens. An ice dam can be hazardous to your property because it can cause structural and roof damage, which is costly to repair. Here are some key ways to prevent ice dams:
- Always clear the roof of excess snow piles.
- Check the roof damage caused by high winds and ice.
- Hire a professional gutter cleaning service to assess your gutters’ condition and make sure they’re clear for the winter.
Owning a commercial property during a pandemic and a recession can be challenging. Even more so during the winter because it can be tough on all kinds of commercial properties. Do everything you can within your power to make sure that our property is protected for whatever the season may bring—and believe that better days are coming for our economy.