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On Your Mark, Get Set... SUMMER!

Summer is a coming… in some places around the country it seems as if it’s already here. The maintenance staff is already busy away the ice melt and snow shovels and getting ready for the summer rush.

Handling the busy summer months can be viewed in the same light as painting; the most important part of the job is preparation. Let’s look at some ideas that can prepare the property for the onslaught of service requests that come with warmer weather.

  • Swimming Pool
    • Start the season with a good, clean filtration system. Use a filter cleaner to clean the sand or remove and clean the cartridges.
    • Take a close look at the chemical storage; is it safe? If it needs to be reorganized, completely clean it out. Make sure that all chemicals are up off of the ground in case of water spill and in proper containers. Ensure that chemicals can’t accidentally mix with one another.
    • Replace the old testing chemicals or even purchase a new test kit if your comparator tubes are no longer clear.
  • Curb Appeal
    • Tune up mechanical equipment. Change the spark plugs and air filters on the engines of blowers, pressure washers.
    • How are the “grabbers” and other daily use equipment looking? If it’s worn, replace it now so it doesn’t fail in the heat of summer.
    • Get with your supplies vendor and evaluate the garbage can liners that are used in the common area. If they are stronger or weaker than needed, we can save money.
    • Revisit the most viewed areas of the property: the mail center and trash containers. These two areas might need some sprucing up. (A fresh coat of paint and dealing with the staple/tack holes from last years notices might go a long way…)
    • Create a plan to deal with the upcoming needs in the middle of the busy season. Items like painting curbs, spreading mulch, and other property specific needs can easily be overlooked in the heat of summer.
  • Air Conditioning Preparation
    • Regularly used supplies such as filters, vacuum pump oil, filter dryers, can be depleted without realizing it. Start the season with a good supply.
    • Create and execute a schedule for cleaning the coils on the outside AC unit for every apartment. This can be performed by anyone on staff as no certification is needed and can be accomplished by using a garden hose with a nozzle to rinse off any debris. (Remember to use the disconnect to cut power before spraying.) In most cases, the resident won’t even notice as entry to the apartment is not required.
    • Replace any of the service valve caps that are frequently lost during service. Using metal ones with an O-ring can prevent the loss of refrigerant.
    • Get with your landscapers to ensure enough clearance for good airflow to the outside unit. Bushes should be at least 1 foot away from all surfaces. Be sure that there is enough room for the technician to service the unit without trampling any plants.

Over all, be sure that the maintenance team is physically and mentally prepared for the heat. It’s a good idea to have plenty of water available. Consider keeping sports drink mix on hand. (My teams were appreciative of popsicles!) Also think about having bug spray, repellant and sun screen available to prevent problems while outdoors.

With a little forethought the job of maintaining a community during the busy summer months can be a little less stressful.