Tips to residents on winters in Chicago- From a property managers perspective
During the winter months, it’s important to take preventative measures to avoid cold weather harm in your home, such as frozen pipes and heat loss. Please read the items below and act accordingly for those that apply to you.
1. Keep Your Heat on At All Times
Even if you are not home – especially traveling – you must always keep your apartment heated. If you are out of town and your heat is OFF, please submit a service request immediately. Keep the thermostat set to at least 62°F to prevent frozen pipes. In addition, your furnace will run more efficiently, and your apartment will heat up faster. Failure to keep the unit adequately heated may result in frozen pipes, which can cause damage to your apartment, personal property, your neighbor’s apartment and personal property, and the building.
2. Maintain Thermostat Batteries, Furnace Filters, and Vents
Be sure that the batteries in your thermostat are working and replace them as necessary (dead batteries will cause your heat to go off). This is especially important if you leave your unit for any extended period. Ensure your furnace filter is clean; dirty filters could cause your heat to turn off. Check that your vents are open and aimed in the right direction; poor distribution of heat is due to vents being closed.
3. Keep Windows Closed
It seems obvious, but making sure that your windows are closed will reduce heat loss. It also prevents drafts that could freeze pipes.
4. Do Not Block Radiators
Radiators should always be kept open and clear of items. Do not tamper with valves on the radiator – submit a service request instead. Keep furniture at least six inches away from radiators and do not let curtains cover them.
5. Use Caution When Outside
If you must be outdoors, walk and drive carefully. The effectiveness of salt and ice melt diminishes in extreme cold. Please note that snow removal crews will clear snow AFTER it has finished falling.
6. Leave Common Area Space Heaters On & Keep Doors and Windows Closed
Leave space heaters on if you find one in the common area, basement, or laundry room. They are there to provide heat and prevent frozen pipes. Ensure doors and windows are fully closed – drafts will cause frozen pipes.
For bitter cold temperatures – Outdoor Daily High Temperature 15°F Or Less
7. Check Locks Before Leaving
When leaving the property, ensure your key works in the locks BEFORE walking away. Submit a service request immediately if the lock is frozen. Locks on exterior gates and doors can freeze in extreme cold.
8. Drip Water from Faucets
It is important to keep water moving through your plumbing to prevent frozen pipes. Please leave a steady drip in your faucets/spigots – both hot and cold. Flush toilets from time to time, too.
9. Leave Cabinet Door Open – Exterior Walls
If you have a plumbing fixture on an exterior wall, keep the cabinet door open so the pipes receive heat. Such as a kitchen sink on an outside wall.
The City mandates that from September 15th to June 1st, the temperature in your apartment must be at least 68°F from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm and at least 66°F from 10:30 pm to 8:30 am. If you pay for your own heat, you must maintain active gas and electric accounts to keep the apartment heated and avoid the possibility of pipes freezing. If you have issues with your furnace or heating equipment, submit a service request or call the emergency maintenance line immediately.
If you are going out of town or leaving your unit for an extended period, the heat must be left on. Failure to do so may result in pipes freezing and breaking and causing damage to your apartment and personal property, your neighbor’s apartment and personal property, and the building. Turning off your furnace is a lease violation, and you will be held liable for any damages incurred.
Please do not hesitate to contact your property manager with any questions.