Helpful Tips on Winterizing your Facility
Tomorrow, December 21st is the first official day of winter. Are you prepared?
Cold weather can be a real challenge to maintenance and facilities staff – keeping heating systems and exterior spaces in tip-top shape for whatever Mother Nature brings our way.
As building owners and facility managers, you should be mindful of the following maintenance tips to help keep your property and its staff safe and happy this winter.
Inspection and Cleaning of Heating Systems
To ensure efficiency and proper operation we strongly recommend visually inspecting furnaces and roof-top units for cracks in heat exchangers that could lead to dangerous CO2
Hot water heating systems should be cleaned annually
Examine flue for carbon buildup
Remove and clean burners
Brush boiler tubes
Examine gauges and ensure proper calibration
Verify all components are operating properly
Aging units should be on a regular preventative maintenance plan; or consider replacement to a more energy and cost efficient system
Optimize temperature set-points and calibrate thermostats
A temperature of 68o F has been researched by ASHRAE (Standard 55 – Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy) to be comfortable for most people who are dressed appropriately for the season. Further studies have shown utility bills can be decreased by an average of 1% per degree in temperature drop.
During unoccupied hours, adjust heat to a lower set point.
Winterize Cooling Systems
Verify your cooling system is off-line
Drain cooling towers
Empty condensate drain taps
Shut down Chiller equipment
Address maintenance needs and conduct repairs in off season
Replace air filters in HVAC systems. Clean filters can increase the effectiveness of the heating system and improve the overall life cycle of the equipment in addition to air quality.
Weather Strip/ Caulk Doors and Windows
Weather stripping and caulking are an easy means of preventing heat from escaping. Not only does it reduce air infiltration, it also has the added benefit of blocking dust, dirt and insects from entering through tiny gaps that may not be immediately noticeable.
Snow Control / De-Icing
Controlling walkways and De-icing outdoor surfaces with safer salt alternatives such as MAG Ice Melt will reduce potential slips and falls.
Proper Entrance Matting
Your customer’s first impression is your Welcome Mat. Heavy foot traffic in slush, salt and dirt poses potential slip hazards and tracks in added cost to maintain flooring. Ensure both inside and outside entrances and exits have enough matting for three steps with each foot.
Repair Asphalt/Sidewalk Cracks
Filling cracks in paved areas will mitigate further deterioration that could lead to costly potholes.
Drain faucets and remove hoses
Winterize/service irrigation systems
Removing debris ensures water will flow freely and not create freeze related damage.
Check for loose roofing materials where water may collect and create ice-dams.
Develop/Communicate emergency preparedness plan, Inspect back up power systems and generators in the event of power outage and get in the habit of backing up important electronic data and files
Work From Home
If feasible, allow employees to work from home in inclement weather, Safety First!
Winter brings a number of unique challenges to those responsible for building and facility maintenance. Proper planning and scheduling will greatly reduce winter’s negative impact and keep occupants safe in this unpredictable season.