Winter is tough on the community’s architecture and maintenance issues. Some lessons learned from our first major 2018 cold weather:
1. Make sure your owner and tenant emergency contact information (phone number(s) and e-mail address) is on file with NRP. In the event of a burst pipe (it happened in the recent wave of freezing weather) we may need to contact someone as soon as possible. E-mail addresses are also important to provide you with notification about snow and ice removal.
2. Be sure to shut off the water to your outside front and back water faucets if the temperature is going to be below freezing. The outside water “bibs” are the most vulnerable and tend to freeze and burst quickly. Typically, there are separate shut off valves for each outside water faucet, which are located in the downstairs utility closet. You might want to also consider putting an insulated cover over the outside faucet spigots. A number of Styrofoam type covers that just clip onto the faucet can usually be found in most hardware stores.
3. If you are going to be out of town for several days during a very cold spell, you might want to have someone stop by your residence periodically and turn on the water in a sink, tub, or toilet for a few minutes. This keeps the water in the outside pipes and water meter moving rather than let the water sit and freeze. Note: if a pipe freezes or bursts somewhere between the water meter (usually located at the front curb) and your house, you are responsible for its maintenance and repair. If the water meter or pipe in the street breaks that is the responsibility of Fairfax Water. While most of the house to water meter pipes are buried a couple of feet underground and have a fair amount of protection from freezing, the water meters are more vulnerable. Keeping some water moving through the system every other day or so will help minimize the freezing threat.
While winter is not conducive to outdoor maintenance and repair activities, it is a good time for inspection, assessment, and planning for spring and summer maintenance needs. Without all the tree leaves and other vegetation blocking your view, this is a good time for close inspections of your roof, the outside trim, and ledger boards. It is also a good time to take a look at your fences. Warped and missing boards are much easier to see as well as fence posts that may be leaning or finials (decorative ball on the top of fence posts) that are missing. Remember in planning for your fence repair, the outsides of fences and gates are not allowed to be stained. Include removal of any stain (e.g. striping or sanding or board replacement) and power washing in your fence repair plans. Maintenance of fences is a particularly weak area in our community compliance with the Architectural Guidelines. Take advantage of the clear visibility during winter and seriously check out your fence.
Finally, please remember that most exterior repair activities do not need advance approval. However, replacement of external features, like roofs, windows, and doors do require homeowners to submit an External Change Request. The External Change Request form, and the overall Architectural Guidelines document, can be found on the community website: www.mcleanprovincehoa.com