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Keeping Your Castle: Self-Storage Maintenance for Resident Managers

Mel Holsinger Comments

Many self-storage managers have the distinct advantage (or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it) of living on the property where they are employed. If this applies to you, I hope to give you some hints on how to make your home and business just a little bit nicer. For the most part, management companies concentrate on the business and sometimes forget that an onsite apartment’s maintenance can be just as important as maintaining the storage facility.

Open and Shut Case

Let’s start by looking at what I call the seals. Windows and doors are main areas where blowing dust and dirt can penetrate if the proper seal is not maintained. Start by checking around windows for caulking that has cracked or been penetrated. If necessary, I recommend removing the old caulk and starting fresh. Be sure to buy quality product and apply it meticulously. If done correctly, it’s possible to prevent dirt and debris from coming into your home/office and will save money on heating and cooling. Mention these points to your owner to justify the work.

How about your door openings? Again, check to see they are properly set, thresholds are firm and all screens and windows are in good shape. If a screen or window is torn or broken, now’s the time to replace it. If your threshold is not properly seated, install a new one. These tasks are relatively simple, and your local hardware professional can provide proper instructions on how to replace them.

If you live in a particularly dusty environment, contact your local heating-and-cooling contractor about duct cleaning. Each year I have a company “vacuum” the ducts to remove dirt and dust, which helps my air-conditioning unit and heater work more efficiently and longer.

Of course, I also maintain a regular monthly schedule of changing return-air filters (usually, my electric bill reminds me). Based on advice from several contractors, I use a good but inexpensive filter, which goes a long way in keeping the premises fresher. Last but not least, have your heating and cooling systems checked annually by a professional. The service cost is easily justified when one considers the price tag of a new unit. A quick checkup can prolong the life of your system for months, even years.

Pesky Critters

I also take a monthly tour around my house on the lookout for unwanted birds, bees and wasp nests. Armed with my can of spray (check with your local pest-control company for the best kind), I cautiously destroy any bee or wasp nests under my roof eves. If I have birds’ nests, especially invasive woodpeckers, I relocate them to safer quarters where they can’t harm my home.

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