The winter season is exciting with holidays and snow activities for everyone to enjoy. However, sometimes the weather will get the best of your business and impede operations. It is important you prepare your business for the cold season by performing regular maintenance and having the necessary supplies on hand in case something does happen. This article will discuss areas you need to think about for your business going into winter.
Weather Seal Your Building
In preparation for winter, it is important for the integrity of your building and comfort of those inside that you weather seal your building. Fortifying your business location includes sealing openings with caulking and insulation where cold air could enter. If you have cracks in your building, freezing temperatures will affect the internal temperature, increasing utility costs, and cause further deterioration of your building. Sometimes sandbagging is necessary to prevent water from flooding or ice dams forming in front of entrances. To prevent extensive damage, unwanted mold or pests, seal off all openings against the winter season.
The fluctuation of temperature during the winter can be hard on your devices and the equipment used for your business. As new technology develops, engineering advances are continually improving the equipment your business uses. To keep up with advances and product demand, it is important to upgrade your equipment. New equipment will respond better in cold temperatures and prove more efficient in the long term. Old computers, machines, and utility systems should be upgraded in your business in preparation for winter.
Fix Roof Issues
The roof of your building puts up with a lot from the external elements, especially during the winter. It is important to perform regular maintenance on your roof when the seasons change. A roof inspection will help you identify issues that need fixed prior to the winter season. Clearing drains and gutters from sticks, leaves, and debris will promote drainage and prevent ice dams from forming. Heat tape is also wise to help prevent unnecessary water damage and promote melting ice. If you do get hit with a big storm, clear heavy snow off your roof to prevent structural damage.
Protect Your Parking Lot
During the winter, your parking lot can undergo a lot of stress from snow plows, rock salt, sand, freezing and melting temperatures, and cars. Temperature variations can cause your paving to expand and crack. As water seeps into the existing cracks, then freezes, it will expand and cause additional fractures. Repair potholes prior to the winter season. You can also use a sealant that will keep water, salt, and debris from finding their way into fault lines. The integrity of your parking lot throughout the year will depend on how you seal it for the winter.
If you are planning on your business remaining open to the public during the winter, it is important you have a supply of rock salt. Brine or salt prevents ice from forming on your walkways, causing slippery situations. It is safest to keep your sidewalks clear from snow, ice, and other debris that could make you liable for someone’s injury. How much ice melt to keep on hand will depend on your facilities location and property manager requirements. Even if your manager has a snow removal service, it is wise to keep a shovel and salt handy for when a big winter storm hits, and your facility is neglected one way or the other.
Replace Air Filters
Regular HVAC maintenance keeps your systems operating at peak efficiency which then reduces energy costs. Maintenance also helps you uncover small problems before they become expensive or dangerous. To protect your business, it is important to set maintenance reminders and schedule time to regularly replace your air filters. Even if it doesn’t look dirty, you should replace your filter at least every 90 days. This will help keep your internal systems clean and more efficient to filter air. A new air filter will prevent pollution, toxins, and extreme temperatures from affecting your business.
Prepare for a Power Outage
One of the biggest threats during a winter storm is the loss of power. Even if your business isn’t open when a storm hits, the loss of power lines and outages can last for days. The loss of power will hamper employee productivity and threaten their safety. Your business will not be able to operate, and products could have extensive damage.
Implement measures to protect your business from a power outage including a backup computer system, a backup generator, and emergency lighting equipment. It is also recommended to have a variety of portable chargers and battery banks on hand to charge cell phones, in addition to blankets and food supplies in case your employees are stranded.
Check Insurance Coverage
Some businesses are caught in the aftereffects of a winter storm with no insurance plan to protect them. Not all insurance policies are created equal, and not every policy covers weather disasters causing harm to your facility and the people inside. Prior to winter, it is wise to check your insurance policy, so you know what your business insurance policy protects against and whether you need to expand your policy. Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has recommendations on how you can best protect your business assets.
You never know what could happen during the winter. A major storm could come through, or your building may give up after all the years of tension it has put up with. Winterizing your business protects your employees, your assets, and you from harmful consequences. It is wise to have enough supplies on hand to support the operations of your business, regardless of external conditions. Emergency supplies, maintenance checks, and added insurance protection will go a long way in helping your business be ready for winter. Once you have adequately prepared, you can truly enjoy the festivities and holiday cheer that comes with the winter season.
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