Clintar Blog

Pre-Winter Checklist: How to Safeguard Your Commercial Property

Clintar | September 1, 2023 | Winter Maintenance

The cold winter months can wreak havoc on commercial properties if owners and managers fail to take preventative measures. From burst pipes to roof damage caused by heavy snow accumulation, inadequate winter preparation can lead to safety hazards, disruptions, and costly emergency repairs.

By assessing your property, implementing a customized maintenance plan, and acting before temperatures drop, you can avoid the headaches that often accompany the winter season. This guide will walk you through essential tips and best practices to protect your building and ensure smooth operations all winter long.

Tip 1: Assess Your Property

Before the winter season sets in, it is crucial for commercial property owners to assess their properties thoroughly. Taking proactive measures will help prevent potential safety hazards and costly repairs down the line. Here are some key steps to consider when assessing your commercial property for the winter season.

Firstly, inspect sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots for any cracks or uneven surfaces that could pose safety hazards. Addressing these issues will ensure the safety of employees, visitors, and tenants.

Secondly, check any handrails around the property. These are often anchored into ground that can loosen due to the shifting caused by this freeze-thaw effect. Ensuring they’re well-anchored and considering anti-slip grip covers can become a safety imperative during icy spells.

Finally check drainage systems. A blocked drainage system can quickly lead to pooling water. When this water freezes, it creates perilous icy patches, and when it thaws, it has the potential to erode surrounding areas.

Tip 2: Inspect and Maintain the Roof

Regular inspection and maintenance of the roof of a commercial building is crucial during the winter season. The weight of snow accumulation, combined with freezing temperatures, can pose serious risks to the integrity of the roof and the safety of the occupants.

One of the potential risks during the winter months is roof collapse. Heavy snowfall can put excessive weight on the roof, leading to structural damage or even a complete collapse. Additionally, clogged gutters and downspouts can cause water to back up and seep into the building, resulting in water damage, mold growth, and costly repairs.

Tip 3: Clean and Inspect Gutters

In addition to regular roof maintenance, another important aspect of commercial property winter preparation is cleaning and inspecting the gutters. During the fall season, debris such as leaves, twigs, and dirt can accumulate in the gutters and drains, which can lead to clogs and potential water damage.

To ensure proper water drainage and prevent water from backing up into the building, it is crucial to clean the gutters and downspouts thoroughly. Remove any debris that may have accumulated, using a garden trowel or a high-pressure hose if necessary. This will allow for a clear path for water to flow off the roof and away from the building.

Inspect the gutters and downspouts for any signs of damage or wear. Look for loose or damaged sections that may need to be repaired or replaced. Ensure that the downspouts are securely connected and diverting water away from the foundation of the building.

By regularly cleaning and inspecting the gutters and downspouts, you can prevent water from overflowing and causing potential water damage to the property.

Tip 4: Winterize Windows and Doors

Winterizing your building keeps it warm and efficient. A key part of this is insulating your windows and doors.

Inspect all windows and doors for cracks or gaps that could let in cold air. Pay attention to frames and the points where they connect with the wall.

If you find any gaps, seal them using weather stripping or caulking. These materials help create a tight seal when your windows or doors are closed. Caulking also seals gaps in the frames or around the panes.

For better insulation, add foam insulation around the windows and doors. This fills larger gaps around the frames and adds an extra layer of protection against the cold.

Make sure all windows and doors close properly. If not, repair or replace them to ensure a tight seal.

By doing these steps, you can efficiently winterize your windows and doors. This will help maintain a warm internal environment, save on heating costs, and prevent potential cold or moisture damage.

Tip 5: Service and Insulate HVAC Systems

For winter preparation of your commercial property, focus on servicing and insulating your HVAC systems. This ensures their efficient operation throughout the cold season.

Begin with a professional HVAC service for inspection and maintenance. Regular maintenance maximizes performance and helps catch potential issues early.

Regularly clean and replace air filters to enhance indoor air quality and system efficiency. Clogged filters restrict airflow, strain the HVAC system, lead to poor heating, and increase energy use.

Inspect the ventilation system, including exhaust fans and vents, for proper airflow and exhaust gas ventilation. Poor ventilation can lead to stale air and health hazards.

Insulate ductwork and pipes to prevent heat loss and risk of frozen pipes. Proper insulation maintains comfortable temperature and reduces energy waste.

Choose a reliable heating system repair service for any unexpected outages or maintenance issues. This minimizes business disruptions and ensures prompt resolution. By prioritizing your HVAC systems’ service and insulation, you can achieve a comfortable and energy-efficient property during winter.

Tip 6: Protect Your Landscaping

Winter demands specific landscaping care for your commercial property to counteract severe weather.

Trim any nearby foliage and trees preemptively to guard against potential damage from heavy snow or ice. Be cautious of trees near power lines to prevent power outages.

Prevent the risk of burst pipes and expensive repairs by turning off irrigation systems and draining leftover water. This action can help avert frozen pipes and subsequent water damage.

Disconnect, drain, and store outdoor hoses in a dry, insulated area to prevent freezing and prolong their use.

Tip 7: Prepare for Winter Emergencies

Be ready for winter-related emergencies to avoid disruptions and costly damages. This involves creating a winter safety plan that outlines steps for handling power outages, pipe bursts, or roof leaks.

Regularly charge communication devices and keep electronic backups of important files. Arrange services like snow removal ahead of time to prevent any business interruption.

A comprehensive emergency plan ensures a quicker response, minimises disruptions, and avoids costly repairs, providing peace of mind during the winter season.

Tip 8: Stay Alert and Ready

Winter weather can be unpredictable and pose risks for commercial property owners. It’s crucial to stay updated on forecasts, know about any potential power outages, and keep an eye on road conditions.

Use resources like news channels, weather apps, and government agencies to get timely and accurate weather updates. This will help you plan for things like heavy snow, freezing temperatures, and ice storms.

Be aware of power outage alerts from your local utility companies. Prepare backup power systems or make necessary arrangements to avoid disruptions.

Lastly, ensure the safety of your employees and tenants by regularly checking traffic reports and sharing any potential road hazards. By staying alert and ready, you can mitigate risks to your property and business operations during winter.

Tip 9: Consider Professional Help With Your Snow Removal

Winter weather can make maintaining commercial areas a challenge. To keep your property safe and accessible, consider hiring professional snow removal and ice management services.

These experts have the right tools, skills, and team to efficiently clear places like car parks and walkways. They don’t just remove snow, but also strategically manage where it’s relocated to prevent future hazards like icy spots or blocked drains.

They can also advise you on preventative measures, identifying spots more prone to ice or damage from sustained snow build-up. Their services aren’t just about clearing snow after it has fallen, but also about taking steps to minimise winter-related risks.

For sudden winter emergencies like unexpected snowstorms or freezing rain, having a professional service ready to react can help keep your business running smoothly and your property safe and accessible.

Working with a professional snow removal and ice management service can give you peace of mind. Their commitment to detail, equipment, and expertise can help protect your commercial property from the worst of winter, ensuring it remains operational, safe, and well-cared-for, year after year.

Braving Winter with Confidence

Preparing your commercial property for winter now will pay dividends through the colder months ahead. Prioritizing maintenance, safety and prompt snow/ice removal will minimize disruptions, reduce risks and help avoid costly emergency repairs when temperatures drop. Contact Clintar today to schedule a free snow removal and ice management estimate for your property.