Clocks will be falling back an hour before you know it! The extra sleep is great, but this also means it’s time to think ahead in preparation for fall and winter. You need to protect your building from low temperatures, ice storms, and piles of thick, wet snow.
The last thing you want is to face downtime or hefty repair bills throughout fall and winter. By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to protect your facility inside and out, which means avoiding hefty repair bills or having to close down temporarily.
1: Inspect Your Building – Inside AND Out
A general inspection will help determine what areas of your facility need cleaning or repair. Check all doors, windows, and your heating system to ensure all seals and weather stripping are intact. Make sure the roof and attic space are on that list, too. If your building has exterior water fixtures, inspect them for any cracks or leaks.
2: De-gunk Your Gutters
Chances are, your gutters have gotten their fill of leaves and debris throughout spring and summer. Even if you’ve kept up on your gutters so far, it’s best to do this again before winter — particularly after all the trees have shed their leaves. This is also a great time to prune any trees whose branches loom over your roof!
3: Protect Against Power Outages
Wintertime and power outages go hand in hand, which is not only dangerous, but can also be fairly costly. First off, create an emergency plan that all your employees or tenants understand. Check all emergency lighting, or consider having some installed if you haven’t yet. You’ll also want to stock your building with flashlights, extra batteries (in a variety of sizes), and some first aid kits.
4: Prep Your Cooling System
You no doubt keep up on HVAC maintenance for your building, since clean air filters vastly improve the overall air quality. This step is especially important as you shift from cooling to heating needs. Plus, you’re doing more than extending the life of your HVAC system — by reducing energy consumption, you’re saving money, too! Lastly, if yours is a system that has to be completely shut down over winter, make sure all pipes are drained and supply valves are closed.
5: Double-Check the Roof, Windows, and Doors
You’ve probably given these areas a once over during your general inspection — good on you! Just make sure you pay extra attention to these three areas. To keep all that warm, cozy air where it belongs, check that all weather stripping and caulking is up to snuff. This is another step that can help you save on energy costs, too! A roof inspection is probably the most crucial step: if moisture collects beneath loose shingles and flashing, you could be facing some pretty pricey problems if snow and ice builds up.
6: Winterize All Outdoor Water Sources
If your general inspection turned up any issues with your building’s exterior water sources, there’s a few things you can do. First, frost-proof your hose bibs and faucets. You can get insulating covers to prevent freezing, or even install frost-proof fixtures that will help for future seasons. If you’ve got an underground sprinkling system, make sure it’s been drained and safeguarded before the snow starts flying.
7: Don’t Forget About Overall Safety!
Life won’t stop when wintertime hits, and people will be in and out of your building on the daily. Make sure all downspouts send water away from all high traffic areas to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. Sealing up any noticeable cracks will greatly slow the deterioration of asphalt or concrete, which is the leading trigger to nasty potholes we all love to hate! Lay out entrance mats to circumvent indoor slip hazards. You’ll want to get mats that begin outdoors, end inside, and are robust enough to handle massive amounts of dirt and water. This will reduce mud and gunk being tracked through the premises, too.
Starting early will help the winterizing process for your building feel less overwhelming. Depending on what you’ve found through your inspection, calling a professional team can save you time, stress, and money.