A Modern Winter Prep Checklist

admin Building Maintenance Services, Commercial, Residential, Water Damage

Prevent damage to your building from water and extreme cold during the winter.

You know your stuff about how to prep your building for winter. But as the cooler weather creeps in, it’s always helpful to be reminded of the most important things you can do to get your building ready for cold temperatures, saving yourself from a later headache. Here are the five most important things you can do to make sure your building is all set and ready to go for the winter months.

  1. Make sure all outdoor water spigots have been unhooked

Pipe bursts frequently become an issue when temperatures drop below freezing, and water inside the pipes freezes. Make sure all hoses outside of the building have been detached, drained, and all spigots unhooked. If water spigots remain attached, you might not notice the effects until you turn the spigot back on in the springtime, which can result in water leaks and basements flooding if the spigot has not been unhooked. For a commercial property, if you don’t have a basement, that can mean water leaks on the first floor – which you definitely don’t want.

For a building that won’t be in use during the winter, you can install a 3-quarter turn ball valve, which are inexpensive and effective, to prevent flooding.

2. Have your building’s HVAC system cleaned

As your HVAC system runs, it can spit mold, dust, and bacteria-laden particles into your building if you haven’t had it cleaned. The older the building, the more likely this can become a problem. Luckily, as technology has evolved, there are HVAC accessories available that can help with monitoring, combating odors, and cleaning. These include humidifiers, ventilators, smart thermostats, air cleaners and more.

3. Prevent ice dams on your roof

Ah, ice dams: the bane of your roof’s existence. As snow turns into ice on your roof, it can form thick sheets that trap meltwater, which then leaks into your building through the roof. Fun. A strong indicator that you may have ice dams are icicles along the perimeter of your building. To prevent this from happening, keep your roof cold so water doesn’t melt and then refreeze. This can be achieved through closing off all attic bypasses and ensuring proper insulation.

4. Prevent musty smell

Preparing your building to be free of water damage during the winter months will pay off come spring, when the heat and humidity activates our sense of smell. Roof leaks and water damage can give off an unpleasant odor if left untreated – but as the air tends to be more on the dry side during the winter, we tend not to notice until spring. Adequately preparing your building and preventing water damage altogether will save you time later down the road.

5. Stock up on deicers and industrial-strength neutralized floor cleaner

Make sure you have an adequate supply of salt and sand, which you can distribute along sidewalks and the entrance to your building in the event of snow or ice. For a more modern, environmentally-friendly option, review the EPA’s roundup of safer mineral and organic-based solutions – which can be just as effective as rock salt, and help your organization reach its sustainability goals.

Whichever option you choose, melted snow and dirt makes a mess as it gets tracked inside. A neutralized, peroxide-based floor cleaner can remove salt stains and buildup from the floor, which will make your life much easier when cleaning. You may also want to invest in an oversized branded mat for the entrance and exits, which can add a nice visual touch and help keep floors clean.