New York Insider Tips – January 2016
Co-op/condo boards and townhouse owners take note. NYC requires owners to clear snow from sidewalks fronting all property lines quickly following a storm, and can levy and violation for not doing so. Ensure you or your staff quickly clears any accumulation of snow and ice to avoid injury, be it physical or legal.
Townhouse and small co-op owners: beware of ice dams. Ice can melt from a rooftop where excess interior heat escapes, but refreeze near the façade, blocking melting water from being shed further. To avoid dams, ensure good ventilation of an upper floor or attic, and ensure an attic is kept colder than lower floors.
Boards and managers should also be aware of freezing pipes, or risers, which can result in a burst pipe and significant water damage. Renovations along exterior walls should be checked for pipe insulation, and any air leaks should be permanently closed. Opening cabinets fronting these pipes and allowing water to drip can solve the problem temporarily.
Condo and townhouse owners with in-unit, forced-air, duct-based heating units must ensure proper maintenance early in the season. Furnaces can stop working due to system dirt, old filters, and older models without high-efficiency can have a carbon monoxide problem without an automated shut-off in the case of a problem.
Owners should ensure a building is properly closed off to pests as they seek warmth in the colder months. Search the exterior for easy access points like pipes, A/C lines, window frames and screens, and chimneys. Seal openings with silicone caulk, replace screens and protect chimneys with a cap. Further, a basement foundation wall is a common entry point in NYC, and should be checked for gaps and kept dry.