Winter is coming. Is your office building ready?
It may still feel mild outside, but living in the Northeast there is no doubt that winter is, indeed, coming. That makes this the perfect time of year to make sure your office building is ready for the colder months – and the usage changes, temperature drops, and potentially damaging weather events that come with it.
“A few routine maintenance steps now can help prevent costly problems this winter,” advises Dave Eck, maintenance manager with The Anderson Group. “Winter can bring everything from burst pipes and leaking roofs to heating problems and slippery sidewalks and parking lots.”
Here are some of the most important maintenance areas to add to your office building’s winterization checklist:
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that in the U.S. alone, buildings account for 39% of total energy use, 68% of total electricity consumption and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions. And as a facility owner, it likely represents one of your largest expenses. Tuning up and optimizing your HVAC system is a good first step. Inspect, clean and repair your furnace and boilers, and change your air filters.
Find and seal leaks that could let warm air out or cold air in. This may mean applying caulk or weather stripping around doors and windows or installing storm doors and windows. Also, if your building uses gas heat, be sure to check gas lines and connections for leaks and corrosion.
The flat roofs typical of most commercial buildings need regular maintenance during snowy winter months. Conduct a weekly inspection and clearing of your roof throughout the winter, keeping an eye out for pooling water and ice or snow buildup. Built-up precipitation and melting snow and ice can lead to costly leaks and affect your roof’s structural integrity.
Make sure all roofs and gutters are clean and free of leaves and other debris that could clog them. Remember, pooling water from rain, sleet and snow can build up and cause water leakage inside your building.
Parking lots, sidewalks and yards
Clear leaves, sticks, branches, and other debris from the yard, landscaping, walkways, and common areas outside your building. Before storms and after clearing snow, use deicers on exterior walkways and parking lots to prevent ice from forming and to keep people safe from slip-and-fall accidents.
Technology and Data
Protect data and equipment from costly power outages due to winter weather. Consider backing up your files via cloud-based storage, which secures your data daily and eliminates the risk of data loss when a severe storm hits. In addition, test your back-up system and make sure computers and sensitive electrical equipment are connected to surge protectors.
Test your sprinkler systems and make sure they are protected from cold air so your pipes don’t freeze. A frozen sprinkler system is an unusable sprinkler system.
Winterizing your office building may seem like a never-ending list of chores, but investing the time and money now can save you a bundle of time and money in the long run.
“Preparation is key to lessening or eliminating the impact of extreme and routine winter conditions on your facility,” Eck says. “Experience has shown that it’s more than worth the time and effort you put into it.”
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