We covered step and walkway precautions in earlier articles.
We can’t talk about cleaning gutters and drains enough. With the number of calls I get, I should do a monthly reminder. The damage from clogged gutters and drains reaches into the thousands each year. It is made worse when the clogged drains freeze and split. If you are out of town in the Winter months (Lucky you!) make sure that you ask someone to check up on the gutters and drains. And clean the sidewalks and driveways while they are at it. Tenants will rarely do it unless asked or paid.
Next request comes from a “newbie” who just purchased an old 10 unit apartment house. Not a conversion job, it was built as 10 units. He tells me he has a single boiler for the entire building. He says: I have never dealt with a steam boiler before. Where do I start? I told him to consult the person who tended to it before you bought the house. He told me the man died and that’s why he sold the building because he could not find someone willing to do it.
Mac says: Steam boilers, especially large ones require more attention than hot water boilers. Given the fact that it is probably old, he should consult a heating contractor who specializes in such units. If it is oil-fired, it will need to be serviced regularly WITHOUT FAIL. I would replace the air relief valves on all the radiators unless there is evidence that is has been done within the last 5 years. Find out from the former owner if the late gentleman kept a service log on the boiler. Also, when the system is fired up, check all the shut-off valves for each radiator. The reason being, steam radiators get very hot, some tenants will want to turn off some radiators in the Spring and Fall when less heat is desired. Otherwise, you will notice open windows all the time, your heat will be going out the window. Unless you live nearby, with a building that size, you might want to hire someone to do the various & many jobs that will be popping up in a building that size. Offering reduced rent might be an incentive.
Another newbie has a window problem. My 3 family house is from the 1940s. It had the windows replaced by the former owner. Now I notice that they seem to be all fogged up. I tried washing them with all sorts of cleaners but had no luck what so ever. These are double-paned windows. They do not seem to be cheap ones. It’s pretty bad, some of the tenants are complaining. Any
Mac says: You can try to find out the manufacturer and/or the dealer to see what they suggest. I am afraid an expensive replacement is in your future. It may be possible to replace only the bad sashes and not the whole unit. That is only if they are still in production and if the individual sashes were not custom sizes. If you do have to do a lot of replacements. Do some each year, starting with the worst ones. If you get lucky, there may be a warranty still in effect.
“Yeah right” !!??
See you next month.