Taking the necessary time and investment to winterize your commercial building can be well worth your effort. Severe U.S. winter weather has caused more than $250 million in industrial and commercial property damage in the last decade. But that number could’ve been reduced significantly if building owners and facilities professionals had performed proper winter protection measures in their facilities, according to FMGlobal.
Don’t forget to put these items at the top of your to-do list in the next few weeks to prepare your commercial building for winter:
- Check all exterior walls for any leaks, stains, or cracks in brick and missing mortar. Seal these areas to ensure a weather-tight seal that will help keep warm, conditioned air inside and keep the cold air out.
- Inspect drains, gutters, and downspouts to make sure they’re clear and free-flowing before the snow and ice hits. When blocked gutters drip onto sidewalks below, an invisible ice patch can form.
- Think about installing high-performance, low-e window film. The newest window film technology maintains comfortable interior temperatures year-round … not just during summer months. The right window film improves window insulating performance (enough to give single-pane windows the performance of dual-pane windows), reducing heat loss through windows in the winter.
- Investigate HVAC unit operation. Make sure all supply lines are free to keep warm air moving. As part of this process, check HVAC ductwork, housings, condensation lines, and pipes. It’s also important to make sure condensation lines drain properly to keep lines free from water.
- Empty the condensation pan on all HVAC units to remove any excess water.
- Check HVAC doors for rot or rust.
- Invest in quality, absorbent floor mats to help keep ice melt residue from being tracked into the building. They will also help reduce slips and falls due to wet, slushy floors.
- Make sure tenants/occupants understand any rules surrounding the use of space heaters.
- Trim any weak, low-hanging tree branches. When they become covered in heavy snow, they can cause damage to your building’s exterior (or present hazards in parking lots and on walkways).
- Inspect your parking lots for cracks and potholes. Fixing them well in advance can help prevent ice spots.
How do you prepare your building for winter? Are there any additional steps you would take?