If you received comments from tenants about unwanted drafts and inconsistent heat this winter, air leaks could be to blame. Now is a great time to identify opportunities to improve tenant comfort by inspecting your property and looking at the condition of your windows and insulation.
Older, inefficient windows often lead to increased heating and cooling costs, but there are actions you can take to make them better. Improving weatherization isn’t always a difficult task, many building managers could easily do the work themselves. To get started, ask your tenants to check for any cracks or holes around windows and to report back if there’s anything irregular. Any gap, no matter how small, allows heat in the winter or cool air in the summer to escape. And, depending on the age of your building and windows, there could be timeworn caulking or rotting frames contributing to drafts in your units. Recaulking problem areas will help if your windows are still in good condition. If your windows are worn down, replacing them will provide the most benefits to your tenants.
Making sure your building is well insulated not only helps retain heat in the winter, but it’s just as important for maintaining a cool and comfortable unit when temperatures are high. Look in attics and crawl spaces for exposed interior walls and floor joists. Heating and cooling systems have to work harder when coverage is inadequate, using more energy to sustain consistent indoor temperatures. If there’s an opportunity for improvement, you could either install new insulation yourself or hire a professional. Insulation also wears out over time and gets damp, which reduces its effectiveness. Mold growing on insulation is a sign that moisture is leaking in from outdoors. So if you see mold, your insulation needs to be replaced. Additionally, if you have fiberglass insulation, make sure there are no punctures, rips or tears in vapor barriers or facings. Because there are many different types of insulation, it would be a good idea to do some research to find which is right for your property.
Small changes can add up to huge energy savings for your multifamily property. Not sure where to start? Explore available incentives for window and insulation upgrades on Energy Trust’s website.