Winter Warning: Preparing Your Facility for the Winter Weather

Can you feel the brisk, coldness in the air? That’s the feeling of winter.

The winter months can be a crucial time for facility managers to ensure their facilities are prepared for the snow and chilly conditions ahead. We all know the winter season can create major safety hazards so it’s important both your facility and employees are protected and safe. That’s why it’s vital managers establish a proactive plan to make sure they are ready for anything. You never know what havoc the winter season will bring in once it’s in full force.

To ensure your facility is ready for winter, here are some recommendations to keep in mind:

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Be Prepared for Winter Disasters

We understand winter can produce an array of disasters from hail to ice storms to blizzards.  Unfortunately, your facility is bound to get wrapped up in mother nature’s chaos.

Severe snowstorms can quickly lead to power loss within your facility. This makes it inconvenient for your employees to complete their tasks and causes extra downtime to occur. If a winter disaster does happen, make sure you have a backup generator, spare parts, and a contingency plan ready. All of these elements allow your employees to make essential repairs and keep your operation going before calling a service professional.

Examine Your Heating Systems

It’s a no brainer that checking your heating systems during the cold months is a top priority. This will help your facility reduce heating costs and run more efficiently.  To keep your facility prepared for winter, you must inspect your heating systems regularly. Use maintenance checklists to plan the maintenance tasks you should be completing on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Start by examining your heating system’s components:

Air & Boiler Components 
Examine flues for carbon buildup
Analyze combustion to make sure flames burn efficiently
Check safeties to ensure they’re working properly
Look for cracks in the heat exchangers
Remove and clean burners
Boiler Components 
Look over the water pressure gauges to see if calibration is in sync
Clean boiler tubes
Check expansion tanks for proper air cushion and to see if they’re flooded

By checking each component, you’ll be able to ensure each function or part is working properly. If you need assistance, call your trusted mechanical services provider.

Check Water Pipes and Gas Lines

Save yourself the hassle of unexpected downtime and emergency repair costs by inspecting your water pipes and gas lines before it’s too late. During the winter, water pipes are vulnerable to freeze damage and bursts, while gas lines can experience cracks, leaks, and deterioration during this time. Not only are these challenges inconvenient, but they can also be expensive to treat. If you do find any faults in your water pipes or gas lines, it’s crucial to repair them as soon as possible. To prevent your water pipes from freezing in the winter, incorporate these tactics:

  • Know where to access the main water valve
  • Turn off outside water valves
  • Check the tank’s sacrificial anode rod to see if it’s running correctly
  • Ensure drains aren’t clogged
  • Check to see if your facility’s gutters and downspouts are clear for proper drainage
  • Insulate your facility’s interior

Review Your Building Envelope

One of the only things that can protect you against a severe snowstorm is your building’s structure, so facility managers need to check their building’s condition before the winter season. If you spot any defaults in your building’s envelope, such as cracked walls, aging seals, or a sinking roof, you will need to be ready to act.

When checking your building’s roof, you’ll want to consider its ability to handle large amounts of snow during a storm. Some good questions to ask are:

  • What is the snow load in my area?
  • How many inches of snow can my roof withstand?
  • Do we have a removal plan when snow or ice accumulates?

Taking into consideration these questions can help you to prepare your facility for the winter weather ahead.

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Ensure the Outside Working Environment is Safe

Your employees are a crucial asset to your facility’s production. So, doesn’t it make sense to create a safe working environment during the winter weather as well? Depending on their roles, you may have some employees who work inside the facility and some who work outside.

According to OSHA, facilities should create a shelter from harsh winter weather for employees who spend extended hours outside. That may mean including radiators or a shield to protect workers and reduce wind chill. For facility managers, it may be beneficial to assign some tasks during the warmer months and ensure employees aren’t spending too much time outside.

In addition, icy and snowy conditions can make your facility’s parking lot and walkway very slippery. By frequently salting and shoveling both areas, you can make it easier for your employees to get to and from your facility, and reduce the risk of employee injury.

At Rasmussen Mechanical Services, your safety is our number one priority. To help you prepare your facility for the winter weather, our skilled technicians are available 24/7 to help you every step of the way. If you need an installation, repair, or upgrade, our service team has the knowledge and expertise to guarantee your equipment is up and running during the winter months. Contact us today to learn more.