If you manage an industrial facility, warehouse, or other commercial space, winter can be a devastating time for you. Snow wreaks havoc on the exterior of your building, the cold causes problems with equipment, and ice works its way through cracks causing further damage. However, a proper winterization checklist can help to prevent damages that the winter season brings, and ultimately increase the longevity of your facility. 

Interior Winterization

Prepping the inside of your facility for winter is just as important as prepping the outside. With proper interior winterization, you can save on energy costs, keep your employees safe, and ensure your facility is prepared to prevent the risk of damage. Some helpful interior winterization tasks include: 

1. Furnace Preparation

If you smell an odd odor coming from your furnace, there is no need to panic yet. Furnaces that have remained idle for a long period of time may produce an odd smell, but if the problem persists, contact a professional to come service your furnace. Replace the furnace filter regularly, and ensure your furnace is inspected at least once a year. The last thing your facility needs is to be without heat for the winter. 

2. Adjust Your Thermostat and Reduce Access

Adjust your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, and make sure your entire workforce doesn’t have access to it. Changing temperatures often will wreak havoc on your energy bill, and keeping your facility overheated will result in a massive heating cost. However, you should never sacrifice the comfortability of your employees just to save a few dollars. If your employees have to wear a coat inside, you should probably turn up the temperature. 

3. Check Your Facility Flooring

During the winter, employees walking in and out of your facility track snow and ice throughout the building. They also carry ice along the bottoms of their shoes, making them highly susceptible to slips and falls. If you have a worn-down, slick floor surface in your warehouse, consider hiring an industrial flooring contractor to replace your facility floor. 

4. Wrap Internal Pipes, and Keep the Water Running

Wrapping internal pipes that are close to outside exposure is always recommended to avoid freezing. Pipes that are in the attic, on the exterior walls, or in the crawl space are extremely susceptible.l You can wrap the pipes with heat tape or insulated wrappings to keep them warm, or ask your local plumber for recommendations. 

It is also a good idea to keep a small amount of water running to prevent your pipes from freezing. This is especially important if you live in a region that gets extremely cold, and just a small trickle of water will do the trick. Of course, you may experience a small increase in your water bill, but a few dollars here and there is worth it to prevent the risk of losing your water source. 

5. Avoid Electrical Demand Overload

Machinery and other electrical appliances will be working overtime during the cold season, which could lead to electrical overloads in your facility. To prevent this, avoid starting up machinery at the same time, and turn off the machinery that you are not using.

6. Seal Windows and Doors

Any time you want to save on energy costs, one of the first things you should check is your windows and doors. Windows and doors that are not properly sealed allow drafts to pass throughout your home, causing your furnace to turn on and off. Sealing your windows and doors will ensure heat stays in your home, and cold stays out. 

7. Check Batteries on Detection Devices

With your furnace, machinery, and other appliances working overtime during the winter, safety should be your number one priority. Check your carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, and other alert systems to ensure they have sufficient battery to last the season. If you aren’t sure, it is best to replace the batteries. 

Exterior Winterization

1. Inspect Your Roof

Check your roof for any potential malfunctions, and clear debris off if it is present. Identify loose shingles, cracks, and other deficiencies. If you cannot make the repairs yourself, find a roofing contractor to inspect the problem. Your roof is one of the most costly repairs in your facility, and also one of the highest potential dangers if it fails. 

 

2. Clean Your Gutters

Cleaner your gutters will help to prevent ice from damming up inside. Once this happens, a snowball effect can occur, and large sheets of ice can form on your roof. Consider using gutter guards to prevent debris from getting back in after you have cleared your gutters. 

3. Shut Off Water Access to Exterior Faucets and Remove Hoses

You will most likely not be using your exterior faucets during the winter, so it is a good idea to shut off water access to prevent freezing. For this reason, you should also remove any hoses you have connected to the faucets. 

4. Keep Walkways, Handrails, and Driveways Ice-Free

Safety is always a priority, and one of the biggest risks your employees face during the winter is slips. Shovel walkways and driveways regularly, and lay down road salt to prevent ice from forming again. You should also remove ice from handrails regularly so employees have a secure surface to guide them. 

5. Remove Weak Branches and Loose Debris 

Weak branches and loose debris pose a risk to the exterior of your facility, especially if they are near windows. Remove weak or dead branches that could collapse under the pressure of snow, and clear your facility of any debris that could be picked up during heavy winter storms.