List of Winter Reminders for Our Residents

Anyone else dreading the coming of winter? Before we know it, we’ll wake up to frost on our cars, and not too long after, Pittsburgh will be covered in a blanket of snow. That thought is making us shiver already!

Unfortunately, there’s no avoiding it. Soon, winter will be here. At Franklin West, it’s important to us that our residents are well prepared. We put together a list of reminders and a checklist of things you can do to keep your apartment warm and cozy in the months ahead!

BE ALERT

☑️Call Franklin West maintenance at the first sign that something seems “not right” in your apartment or the building’s common areas.

Although this is true at any time of the year, the winter poses many more challenges and potential for emergency situations. We take pride in our experienced maintenance staff to professionally serve our residents.

Maintenance requests should be directed to the office during regular service hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We know, however, that maintenance issues don’t conveniently arise during regular business hours. For weekend and evening emergencies, calling our answering service at 412-661-1151 is the way to go. Be as specific as possible so that the answering service can contact the appropriate person to help you as soon as is possible.  Anything from clogged drains, no hot water, no heat, frozen pipes to an overflowing toilet or water leaking from your ceiling are all considered emergencies.

HEAT

The type of heat in Franklin West apartments varies … some have gas central air/heat (you have an HVAC unit in your apartment that serves only your apartment), others have gas boiler systems that provide hydronic hot water heat through baseboard heaters to every apartment in the building … still others have electric heat pumps. Not sure what type of heat you have and want to make sure that you are doing what you can to ensure that your system can run efficiently, please call us! We’d be happy to come over and talk with you! Here, however, are some heat basics…

  • Central Air/Heat (gas furnace or electric heat pump)

☑️Your thermostat setting should be set on “auto” and the desired temperature.

We recommend using the “auto” setting because it switches automatically, causing the fan to cycle on and off as a function of heat or cool demand by the thermostat. Please note, the “on” setting of the thermostat fan switch simply causes the fan to run continuously whether a heat or cool demand is present or not.

☑️Franklin West is replacing your furnace filters!

When a furnace filter gets clogged with dust, dander, and other particles, your furnace is forced to work harder. Regularly changing a furnace filter will ensure your furnace runs properly, which is really important during winter time. No need to worry though. Our staff will take care of it for you (as you are aware, we are in the process of changing all furnace filters this fall)!

 ☑️Keep your “stuff” away from HVAC units, hot water tanks, etc.. Please do not use mechanical rooms — where your HVAC unit and/or hot water tank may be located, depending on your particular apartment — as an overflow storage closet. Not only can such clutter prevent these mechanicals from working efficiently and properly, blocking these systems can this be very dangerous. Also, our maintenance staff is not able to provide proper service if they do not have sufficient access. Keeping these areas clear is as much a safety issue as a maintenance one.

  • Gas Hot water/baseboard heat

☑️Don’t put anything directly up against baseboard radiators.

Baseboard heaters need space to allow the air to flow properly. This way it enables the heating system to work most efficiently. So when placing furniture in front of baseboard heaters, just try to leave a 6-inch space in between.

  • Electric baseboard heat

☑️Don’t put anything directly up against electric heaters.

PIPES

☑️ Do not set your thermostat for less than 58 degrees!

This reminder is very important! Keeping your thermostat at 58 degrees or higher will prevent your pipes and, if applicable to your apartment, your sprinkler heads, from freezing in the winter. Never, ever, turn off your heat! A frozen pipe or sprinkler head that bursts can lead to a whole mountain of mess … not only in your apartment but in all apartments below and around you.

☑️Do not turn off your heat! … EVER!

☑️Let us know if you are going to be away!

We get that winter in Pittsburgh means a much-needed trip south. Anything to get away from the cold. Just make sure you keep the heat running in your apartment while on vacation. If you do plan on being away during the winter, even for just a few days, let us know! We’ll keep an eye on your apartment and take the necessary steps to keep your pipes from freezing.

☑️ Keep a faucet on a slow drip when the temperature drops below 20 degrees  When the weather is very cold outside, let warm water drip (so that both cold and hot water are slightly dripping) from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.

☑️Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing during those frigid days or nights.

☑️Don’t forget to close your garage door when you back out of the garage!!

Often, water pipes run near or through garages … if you have an attached garage in your building or townhouse, never leave your garage door open, as frozen pipes will be the likely result. Tie a string around your finger or put a sticky note on your car’s dashboard if you have to, but please don’t forget to close that garage door! At work and you’re not sure if it’s open or closed? Call us and we’ll check for you!

☑️Call us immediately if you think your pipes might be frozen (i.e., you turn on a faucet and water doesn’t come out or comes out only at a trickle — this is a sign that you likely have frozen pipes).

REGULAR UPKEEP & HEAT SAVING TIPS

☑️If you see a hallway or exterior light has burned out at your building, please let us know! 

☑️Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Usually, all you need to do is change the batteries. Though if you feel the detector isn’t functioning properly, don’t hesitate to reach out. Keep in mind, while smoke detector(s) are in ALL apartments and townhouses, CO detectors are only in apartments and/or buildings that have either gas heat and/or appliances or interior garages.

☑️ Turn on your ceiling fan to the winter setting and use it, even in the winter.

Ironic, right? Heat rises. By switching the fan to spin clockwise this will pull the warm air back down into your apartment.  If you cannot reach your fan to do this safely, please call our office and our maintenance staff will do this for you.

☑️ Hang wintertime curtains.

Insulated or heavy curtains can reduce heating costs. Purchasing curtains that fall to the floor will maximize the effectiveness.

☑️ Make sure your windows are completely closed.

The slightest opening can cause a drafty apartment during the cold temperatures!

☑️ Close your chimney flue.

If you live in an apartment that has a wood-burning fireplace, be sure to close your damper when it is not in use. Not sure whether the fireplace in your apartment works or is just decorative? Not experienced with the proper care and use of your wood-burning fireplace? Please call us and our maintenance staff would be happy to give you a primer before you try to use it for the first time!  Not sure how to turn on or use your apartment’s GAS fireplace? Please call us!

That wraps up our list of things to do to prepare for the winter weather! Remember, if there’s anything our staff can help you with, don’t hesitate to call!