Winter weather in the Houston area can be unpredictable, gracing locals with mild, sunny days or surprising us with a dusting of snow! We can get our fair share of cold weather, but, it usually doesn’t get down to freezing for more than a few days at a time. This window of temperate, dry weather is an ideal time to get ahead on the maintenance projects that you’ve been putting off throughout the year.
Whether you have one day, one week, or one month, you can knock out some interior and exterior projects on your building now to set yourself up for success in the spring! The experts at Streamline Painting and More, who have more than 25 years of combined experience working with commercial building managers, have compiled a detailed checklist to help you plan your winter maintenance projects. To make the most of this season, check out their recommendations below.
Houston Winter Building Maintenance Checklist
- Air Filters– Change all HVAC system filters and check the air vents for good airflow. This system needs to be checked at least twice a year to make sure you’re not wasting energy with leaky vents or creating a fire hazard with debris clogging vents or intake grates.
Fans– Clean ceiling fan blades and adjust fans to spin clockwise. This setting pushes warm air upwards then down the walls, offering better circulation and potentially lowering heating bills. Most fans have a switch to reverse the spin, so consult the manual or a manufacturer’s website. Don’t forget to switch back in the late Spring to have the fans blow air down to circulate cooler air as temperatures increase.
- Emergency Prep– Check and restock your emergency kit(s), and review your emergency plans. Emergency kits can include lanterns and other lights, food and water, and basic cleaning and hygiene supplies. Your emergency plans should include evacuation routes as well as plans for sheltering in place. Verify that your fire extinguishers are installed in the proper locations; plan for internal inspections and recharging twice a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Contact a professional service to inspect specialized equipment like fire sprinklers.
- Deep Cleaning– Even though “spring cleaning” gets all the hype, winter may actually be a better time to schedule the deep cleanings your building needs. Consider scheduling carpet and tile cleaning and wall or window cleanings now; the companies who perform these services often become busier in the spring and summer months. Organizing this vital maintenance in the winter will give you the advantage of more flexible appointment schedules and, possibly, lower off-season rates.
- Interior Painting– If you have increased downtime due to the winter slowdown, seize the opportunity to update the interior walls of your building. Even if winter does affect your business load, like with cleaning services, you could benefit from scheduling your interior painting project during this slower painting season. Painting contractors are usually willing to work within your schedule to keep distractions to a minimum and your company running efficiently.
- Back-Ups– To prepare for potential power outages and safeguard your business data, plan to update and backup all company computers and hard drives. If your company relies on computer systems at all, take some time to check on each one to ensure they are backed up and secured before bad weather–and impending outages–hit. While the amount of time this project takes will vary depending on the number of computers your business utilizes, maintaining off-site or cloud-based backups of your business’ digital resources will save you time in the long run if an emergency strikes.
- Roof Inspection– Inspect your roof for damage after an ice storm or wind event. Specifically, check for fallen branches, accumulated leaves, standing water, and loose or missing roofing tiles, all of which can lead to leaks. Make it a habit to consistently check the roof of your building for damage after any adverse weather and address any possible problems quickly before they become worse with time.
- Surface Inspection– Take a survey of your exterior paint and stained wood. Look for common but easy to miss damage such as chipping and other wear at the tops of walls and fencing. Exposed areas of walls or decks can quickly mean exponential damage if cracks or holes lead to water or pest infiltration. Plan to have these issues addressed quickly to prevent mold, rot, and infestation issues in your building.
- Tree Maintenance– Trim back any trees on your property that are near structures or power lines. You may need to hire a tree trimming company if you have numerous or very tall trees. It’s important to get this done yearly to ensure the safety of your building, employees, and clients in case of a weather event.
- Water Drainage– Check and clean gutters and drains both at ground level and on roofs. Clear dropped leaves and ensure proper grading around your building to prevent standing water and ensure that precipitation flows away from all structures. If you find low spots next to your building fill them in with “fill dirt” or gravel, and establish adequate drainage away from foundations. While conducting this inspection, be sure to look for and address any foundation damage.
- Landscaping– Take advantage of the slow-growing Houston winter season: plan to cut back fast-growing shrubs, aerate lawns, fertilize plants, and mulch established beds. Strategic winter planting can elevate your landscaping and curb appeal until flowers and spring growth appear. Plan to prepare perennial plant beds now during the winter to better enjoy the springtime beauty just around the corner.
- Project Planning– If there are some exterior projects on your maintenance to-do list, get ahead of the game by planning them now! Power washing, painting, and spring landscaping can be planned and scheduled now to ensure they are completed on time!
Although this winter building maintenance checklist should help you manage the heavy workload of commercial building management, remember that you are not alone! Finding the right contractors to work with can make all the difference to your building’s upkeep, your bottom line, and your sanity. It’s the mission of our team at Streamline Painting and More to collaborate with business owners, property managers, and facilities directors to make your job easier than ever. We are proud to offer our clients comprehensive estimates, predictable timelines, and beautiful finishes. Contact us today to start with a free estimate and let us check a few things off your list.