Winter is coming, but is your building ready? Cold weather can cause severe damage to buildings and harm to their residents. Poor insulation, burst pipes, slippery steps, and leaking roofs can result in large utility bills, expensive repairs, and even lawsuits. Winterizing your building and creating a cold-weather plan can help reduce your risk and keep your facility in good repair.
Here’s what to know.
Make Sure Your Building is Running Efficiently
As temperatures cool, the load on HVAC systems increases. This can result in dramatically higher utility bills – especially if your HVAC system is older or hasn’t been adequately maintained. If your building is poorly insulated, you’ll not only see increased bills but also potentially damage from moisture and cold encroachment. Call in an expert to inspect your HVAC systems, drain and winterize cooling towers, and recommend updates or upgrades. They can also help you identify insulation issues such as older windows, doors, and older roofs or crawl spaces where updates might be needed. These improvements will help reduce expenses, improve tenant comfort, and extend the life of your building.
Check for Safety Hazards
Icy steps, driveways with poor visibility, and tall trees can all represent potential safety hazards. Consult with an expert to identify any potential winter risks, then mitigate issues according to their recommendations. This might involve applying non-slip materials, adding extra lighting or reflective signage, cutting back trees in danger of falling, and having a plan to deal with water pipes in freezing temperatures. Don’t forget to check that extension cables and heating equipment are being used safely and according to recommendations. Periodically checking the property and immediately acting on any reports of problems or hazards can help keep your property – and tenants – safe.
Protect Your High-Traffic Areas
Damp and muddy feet can cause significant damage to entry areas, especially those with carpet or high-end finishes. You can reduce damage to these areas by installing safety mats and rugs both inside and outside entry areas, installing signage to help direct traffic, and ensuring that your housekeeping team or a contractor is available to mop up spills and vacuum, and deep clean regularly. And don’t forget to look beyond the lobby. Areas such as elevators, parking lots, balconies and terraces, and other entryways can all be at risk of water intrusion.
Have a Winter-Long Plan
Winterizing your building isn’t just a one-off job. Heavy rain, severe snow, or colder-than-usual temperatures can cause unexpected conditions or damage, and you need to address issues quickly. Monitor the condition of your roof, check for water or ice build-up, and have someone available to de-ice, salt, or shovel snow on or around your building. If you’re using your own snow removal equipment, test it ahead of time to ensure its functioning and up to the task. If possible, have the equipment stored on-site so that drivers can easily access it rather than tow it in potentially dangerous conditions.
Talk to Manders About Winterizing Your Building
Extreme temperatures, rain, hail, and snow can significantly impact your building and its tenants. To ensure that your building is functioning efficiently and is protected against major weather events, talk to the team at Manders. Our expert, experienced team can help remedy problem areas and create a plan to help protect your building no matter what winter sends your way. For more information, get in touch today!