Winter Storm Quinn had her way with humanity this past weekend, leaving a devastating impact on New England. As a Rookie Landlord, this is the type of storm that keeps you up at night, having the potential to create mass chaos and dish out unexpected damage/expenses.
Unsurprisingly, my four-unit home lost power for a total of 48 hours. In the past, as a kid, I would have loved a snow day and the chance to miss school but sadly I’m all grown up now and those days are behind me. As a Landlord, I’m given a whole new level of responsibilities and a much different perspective on such occasions.
Needless to say I have learned a TON during this past weekend and I’d like to share a few things with you.
Do NOT Drive At Night
My girlfriend and I drove up to my house around 8 PM to grab some clothes and personal belongings. When a major power outage occurs, it is not just households that are affected but also office buildings, restaurants, schools and other important things such as TRAFFIC LIGHTS and STREET LIGHTS…yeah, dangerous, I know that now…
The entire route was pitch black. There were trees hanging or laying on the road. Wires were swinging freely. The place was an absolute ghost town.
Do NOT drive at night…plan accordingly.
Even Gas Boilers Run On Electricity
Call me crazy but I had no idea that gas boilers ran on electricity. When I found out that power was gone I thought to myself, “Oh that’s not too bad, at least we’ll have heat to keep us warm.”
Let me Google that for you. False.
Gas Boilers DO use electricity and therefore when the power is out, your heat is out.
Seek alternative forms of heat:
- Extra blankets
- Extra sweatpants and sweatshirts
- Look into buying something like this to keep your basement/apartment heated
Be Prepared – Frozen Pipes and Major Appliances
No Power = No Heat
No Heat = Frozen Pipes
Frozen Pipes = Sad Landlord
As noted above, an Oil Space Heater can also be used to heat the basement or crawl space areas where exposed pipes are found.
*PLEASE be careful to properly ventilate as Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer.
- Insulate your pipes to trap the heat
- Trickle your water to keep the pipes flowing
- Unplug major appliances to avoid damages when the power surges back on
- Extra flashlights are a major key
- Battery powered lanterns or lights are a major key
- Candles are secondary, but a great way to light up a room (Fire hazard, be careful)
BE PREPARED…and last but not least…
Friends And Family Are The Greatest Ever
When disaster strikes and you have nowhere to turn to, it can be incredibly scary and nerve racking. For those fortunate enough, you may have friends or family in the area who will help you without a question asked.
It is moments like this when we should be extra grateful for those in our lives who would open their doors to you and your family during a time of need. When my power went out I had such a welcoming and inviting response by friends and family when I needed a place to stay. Sometimes this generosity goes unnoticed until a situation like this occurs, which is sad but also incredibly eye opening and appreciated.
That also means that we ourselves should continue to look out for those who need help. Not always during a time of crisis but also in everyday life. There are plenty out there that could use a hand. You may change a life, who knows.
Stay warm. Stay safe. Spring is just around the corner.
Some other notable lessons:
- Always clear out the common areas from snow and ice before nightfall
- Stay in communication with your tenants
- Do a thorough walk-through of the property before, during, and after the storm
- Secure ALL windows and doors tightly to help trap heat inside
- Lock ALL windows and doors if leaving overnight
- Be on the lookout for neighbors that may need help
Alright that’ll do it 😉