<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1987662231481674&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

Preparing Community Associations for Winter

December 7, 2023

It’s that time of year again. The leaves have changed colors, the holidays are right around the corner, and of course, temperatures are starting to drop quickly. With that in mind, it’s time to consider how communities and homeowners can avoid winter-related incidents from a risk management perspective.

Neglecting the winterization process can create safety hazards for your community and considerable property damage. So, let’s examine some instances where potential liability & property damage can be avoided.

The following article, written by Chase Hudson, Senior Commercial Risk Advisor for Sahouri Insurance was published in the December 2023 edition of Quorum Magazine. 

What You Will Learn:

Prevent Slip and Fall Hazards

One of the most frequently filed winter accidents we see for communities is slip and falls. How can we avoid these? Plan by making sure your snow & ice removal contract is in place well before any potential winter front comes to town. Snow removal is critical for the community’s road safety and emergency responsiveness for vehicles. Still, it is also imperative that walkways be frequently sanded or salted for safe passage for pedestrians. Inspecting all handrails and outdoor stairs before temperatures drop below freezing in the winter months is also highly recommended to ensure they are stable for residents when icy surfaces are possible.

Protect Your Pipes to Avoid Water Damage

Last December the Mid-Atlantic was hit by Winter Storm Elliot, causing temperatures to drop to record lows and affecting many communities in the region with billions of dollars in damage as a result. Most insurance claims filed were due to frozen pipes and the resulting water damage. To help avoid frozen pipes and costly repairs, communities, and homeowners can prepare in a variety of ways. Such as:

  • Confirming pipes are properly insulated and adding insulation or heat tape if needed.
  • Servicing heating systems before the winter months to confirm all is in working order.
  • Maintaining your thermostat at a temperature of at least 60 degrees.
  • Draining & shutting the water off to your outside hose faucets.
  • Opening your cabinets periodically to allow warm air in to help heat the interior pipes in those walls.

Prevent Exterior Property Damage

When it comes to winter property damage, it doesn’t stop with internal water damage. Other risks the inclement winter weather can bring are exterior property damage from wind or the weight of snow and ice. A few tips to avoid these incidents include:

  • Large trees and overhanging branches near buildings should be inspected and trimmed as necessary to avoid bodily injury and damage to siding, windows, roofs, etc.
  • Consider the exposure the community or home has to a roof collapse due to the weight of snow and determine if this should be included in your snow removal contract.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. Blocked gutters and downspouts can prevent stormwater from appropriately moving away from your building and can contribute to Ice Damming, foundation damage, and flooding.

Chimney Inspections and Cleaning

For homes or communities with wood-burning fireplaces, we recommend having these inspected annually by a licensed contractor before the winter months to avoid any chances of fire or smoke damage caused by soot & creosote build-up.

There are a lot of preventative actions to make the winter months as risk-free as possible, so it’s encouraged to start your preparation early. Consistent maintenance of both interior & exterior property will help create a safer community and prevent less unpredicted problems this winter. 

About the Author

Chase Hudson

Chase Hudson is the Senior Commercial Risk Advisor for Sahouri Insurance’s Real Estate department with a focus on providing comprehensive and cost-effective insurance solutions for Community Associations throughout the Mid-Atlantic. He is a proud alumnus of Towson University with a major in Economics. In his 7 years at Sahouri Insurance, he has assisted hundreds of community associations and expanded Sahouri’s program throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. He is a heavily involved member of the Community Associations Institute (CAI), sitting on four committees throughout the Chesapeake, Washington DC Metro, and Central VA chapters.

Click here to book a consultation with Chase. Click here to follow him on Linkedin. 


About Quorum

"Washington Metropolitan Chapter Community Associations Institute’s monthly magazine is packed with articles and columns designed to help our readers preserve, protect, and enhance their communities by running productive meetings; enforcing rules in a consistent yet reasonable way; becoming familiar with the legislative and regulatory pressures facing the industry; planning and budgeting for repairs and replacements; performing preventive and ongoing maintenance, and understanding historical and contemporary trends in common interest development." 


As an independent insurance brokerage firm, we guide our Guests through a technology-driven, consulting-based experience that integrates corporate Risk, Health, and Benefits policies through one, centralized Advocacy Team.