When fall begins to fade away, you should have already prepared your business for the winter weather before the frost sets in. Winterizing your business not only makes the building more efficient when it comes to saving energy, it also helps prevent any type of water damage to the property as well. Being prepared will also allow you to be able to fix smaller problems before they can become expensive and time-consuming.

Here are five winterizing tips that will help keep your business running in tip top shape this winter season:

First, you will want to prepare your pipes. When water begins to freeze and then expands in your pipes, the overwhelming amount of sudden pressure can cause them to burst. The fall time is the best time to ensure that all of your exterior pipes, and pipes along the exterior surfaces are insulated. You can invest in pre-slit polyethylene insulation, which is the best bet for indoor pipes. After you have thoroughly drained the outside pipes you should add some flexible elastomeric insulation and cover any spigots. If the pipes are located in a tight space or they have many bending points, you should use reinforced foam insulating tape instead.

Next, you will want to actually add the insulation. This will keep the warmth where you want it. Before doing this, you will want to conduct an energy audit, which will alert you if the building has enough insulation, which is most important in the attic and along exterior walls. If you have a water heater, you should cover it with a manufacturer approved blanket or cover, especially if it is located in an un-insulated area. If your building does not use high-efficiency windows, consider using window shrink-film kits to reduce the amount of cold air that enters the building.

Also, you will want to have a temporary source of heat if your HVAC system fails. Having a backup option in place to maintain a comfortable working environment will benefit you, and your employees. Having temporary heating will also help reduce the risk of pipes freezing or bursting which will create water damage in the long run.

In accordance with the last tip, it is important to schedule professional maintenance for your heating and cooling systems. Contractors have more availability in the fall, and this should be taken advantage of. A tune up of your HVAC system will make it run more efficiently and it will also improve the quality of the indoor air. If you haven’t had your ductwork cleaned or inspected in the last five years, the fall is also a good time to complete this task as well.

Next, you will want to inspect your building. This may seem obvious, but to many people it is not. Look around the exterior of the building and check for cracks or holes in the walls. As you check the exterior of the building, make sure that the gutters are not clogged and that downspouts are directing the water away, not towards, the structure. This is a good time to hire a plumber to inspect your systems, especially if you live in an area in a flood zone. If you plan to use gas lines that weren’t being used during the summer, hire a professional to inspect the line for leaks. Test all alarms, whether smoke or carbon monoxide, and change the batteries. In addition to all of this, you should also have the fire extinguishers inspected annuals to make sure that the contents inside have not gone bad.

If your business is located in an area that is known for freezing temperatures in the winter, it is very important to have a disaster plan in place. This plan should outline how to prepare the building for the winter months, and extra steps to take if the forecast calls for severe weather. By preparing your business for winter, you can save on energy costs and prevent property damage.

Updated: December 9, 2014 — 5:32 pm

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