Commercial and industrial spaces are more complex than residences and require a larger or more intense scale of preparation for cold weather. Consider these tips on how to prepare your commercial building for winter.
Service the HVAC System
The change of seasons means a shift from air conditioning to heating. Have your HVAC system inspected and replace any worn out parts. Repair damaged ductwork and change filters before the cold season starts. Make sure AC units are properly taken offline and protected for the winter season.
Drain the Landscape Sprinkler System
Some of the pipes that supply your landscape sprinklers may be above ground and subject to freezing. Drain the system and shut it down for the winter.
Confirm Arrangements for Snow & Ice Removal
If your property is in a snow-prone area, make sure you have your snow removal arrangements in place. This includes coverage for parking lots, walkways, and roofs. Along with removing snow, there must be a plan for preventing slippery ice from forming on walkways and avoiding ice dams on roofs.
Don’t forget the interior of the building, where snowy, muddy shoes and boots will enter. Ensure that any mats you spread to absorb the slush won’t create a trip hazard but will prevent slips on slick, glossy floors.
Check the Roof and Gutters
Check roofing and exterior cladding for damage and repair where necessary. Check around vents to ensure proper sealing. Clean the gutters to protect against blockages and water overflow, and ensure downspouts carry water away from the foundation of the building.
Service Fire Prevention Systems
Test indoor fire protection systems and make sure they are functioning properly. If you have a wet pipe fire sprinkler system, make sure the pipes are protected from the cold. Pipes may pass through unfinished or unoccupied spaces, and those should be heated at a reasonable temperature during the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.
Drafty windows are a major complaint from building tenants. Gaps around windows, drafty entryways, and poorly sealed openings in building walls allow cold air in and raise the heating bill. Check weather stripping and caulking and replace or repair it where gaps exist.
Assess the Lighting
Preparing a commercial building for winter also requires an assessment of exterior and interior lighting. Daylight diminishes in the northern hemisphere, and spaces formerly that were lit all day with natural light will need a boost. Exterior lighting should provide adequate illumination for walkways and paths.
Prepare the Plumbing
The biggest threat to plumbing in the winter is frozen pipes. Check freeze protection valves and devices and make sure pipes are properly insulated. Don’t turn the heat off in unoccupied or unfinished spaces. Paying a bit more for heat will be worth it to avoid the mess of frozen pipes.
Complex industrial plumbing systems that must provide a regulated pressure or temperature have special considerations for winterization. Consult a licensed, experienced industrial plumbing company to make sure the system can work uninterrupted through the winter months.
Contact Fletcher’s Plumbing for help in preparing pipes and plumbing in commercial buildings in Northern California for the change in seasons.