5 Steps Your HOA Board Must Take for Winter Preparation
Winter is coming, which means it’s time your HOA board begins preparing its community for the icy and snowy weather. Winter storms can bring many issues that cause property damage, power outages, and travel restrictions. To ensure your community is snow and rain-proofed, it’s vital to have the right winter preparation plan in place. Here are five steps AR Management recommends HOA boards take to ensure homeowners remain safe and warm.
1. Hire a Snow Removal Vendor Early
Ensuring your HOA has a good snow removal contract before a snowstorm comes is crucial. HOA boards must research snow removal vendors early to ensure their HOA roads can be plowed and walkways salted. Typically, boards have the option to select from three types of snow removal contracts: per push, seasonal, and full-service seasonal. Depending on the chosen contract, it will outline the service’s cost, when the snow will be removed, and where the vendor will plow.
2. Prepare the Pipes
The last thing your HOA board wants to deal with right after a winter storm is frozen water or sewage pipes that burst. Make sure when temperatures begin to drop below freezing that:
- Water is drained from sprinkler systems
- Outdoor pools are drained and sealed
- Exterior pipes are protected with thermal padding
- Basements, attics, and storage areas are kept warm
This will help prevent pipes from cracking and needing to be repaired during the winter months.
3. Inspect the HVAC Systems
It’s imperative to make sure your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems maintain proper indoor climate control during the wintertime. If they are not up to code, cold air from the outdoors will begin to cause indoor temperatures to drop, leaving homeowners exposed to dangerous living conditions.
HOA boards should hire an HVAC inspection company to come and inspect their HVAC systems in the late fall to ensure heating in all common areas is operating correctly. Boards should also inform residents that if their HVAC isn’t working correctly in their home, to submit an online work order before a blizzard occurs.
4. Examine Building Exteriors
When heavy snow, sleet, or rainfall comes, buildings can experience severe damage if they aren’t adequately insulated and sealed. HOA boards must hire a vendor to inspect common area building exteriors to make sure rooftops, gutters, siding, windows, and doors are repaired and ready for winter. It’s also essential to encourage homeowners to check their home’s exterior and submit an online work order to have it inspected by professionals even if they don’t see any damage. This ensures their home is safe to inhabit during the chilly months.
5. Prepare for Power Outages
Winter storms often bring power outages. While no one can anticipate which storm will cause a power outage, HOA boards can prepare their winter budgets ahead of time to plan for them by purchasing backup generators and battery-powered heaters in accordance with local ordinances and guidelines. HOA boards should also remain transparent with homeowners to refer to their governing documents on generator installation requirements and policies.