Tips for Maintaining Your Commercial Building in the Winter
Winters in New England can be rough on business. With weather patterns ranging from mild to extreme, the worst storms often hit us when we’re least expecting them. Maintaining the integrity of your commercial building is crucial to making it through the winter months without the need for costly emergency repairs.
You have a lot invested in your commercial building, and you are responsible for keeping its occupants, warm, dry and safe during the colder months of the year. Here are some tips to help you maintain your commercial building throughout New England’s unforgiving winters.
Inspect. Inspect. Inspect
Making the assumption that all building aspects are working properly is, unfortunately, a mistake that many businesses make. While during the milder months of the year, building issues are less likely to be discovered, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
It is recommended that you consistently check all building areas that are susceptible to breaking down over time. It is especially important to inspect those areas that you’ll want working as efficiently and safely as possible when temperatures start to drop.
Some building areas to pay attention to regularly include:
It’s important to inspect your heating systems regularly to ensure they are working properly at all times. Heating system problems that go unnoticed for long periods of time can turn into bigger issues, and winter is not the ideal time to discover them. Have your heating system cleaned and/or inspected annually.
Check to make sure thermostats are working efficiently. Set building thermostats to a comfortable temperature, and limit thermostat controls as much as possible.
Don’t forget to winterize cooling systems that aren’t used during winter. It is recommended to drain pipes and close valves. Shutting off cooling systems is also recommended. Look for any potential issues with these systems as well, so you can take care of them ahead of time if need be.
Many businesses neglect to change out air filters when switching from cooling to heating during the winter. Changing filters twice a year ensures they are as clean as possible, resulting in higher air quality in your building.
Doors & Windows
In addition to inspecting the health of your building’s heating system, you’ll want to inspect doors and windows thoroughly for cracks and other potential ways for heat to escape and cold air to get in. Check to make sure they are properly sealed, and if not, be sure to fix the issue as soon as possible.
Remember to check your building’s exterior as well. Check for leaks in your roof and attic areas, as even small leaks can turn into much bigger ones, and quickly. Avoid allowing leaves and other storm debris to back up in your gutters, by cleaning them out regularly during the winter.
Minimizing Winter Damage & Hazards
Preventing a hazardous building environment is an important and challenging aspect of running maintaining your building during winter. The following hazards can be prevented with simple preparation and maintenance:
The amount of dirt that people track into buildings is astounding. Dirt and other debris that is dragged in by individuals entering and exiting the building can cause significant damage to your flooring over time. By placing utility mats both inside and outside of all entry and exit doors of the building, you can significantly lower the amount of dirt that makes its way inside.
Proper placement of utility mats also helps to minimize slippery surfaces in the building created by wet boots. Placing wet floor signs around areas that haven’t been mopped up yet are also a good idea.
Don’t forget to pick up plenty of ice melt for walkways, ensuring the safety of visitors and regular occupants. Again, placing warning signs about slippery walkways is also recommended.
The Solution – Plan Ahead.
Through our experience in commercial building construction and renovation, Ouellet knows first-hand that many building issues that occur during winter can be avoided with regular inspection and repair. We’ve worked with local businesses such as Bill Dodge GMC and Southern Maine Health Care to help them withstand New England’s winters. Don’t get caught in a winter emergency. Take the recommended precautions above to avoid the need for costly repairs.