Winter Facility Preparation Tips

a man and woman shoveling snow

Written by Guest Blogger, Betty White

Proper preparation of facilities for the winter months is essential. Many malfunctions and problems can arise from untimely or unskilled maintenance. Hence, regular winter maintenance should be an indispensable part of your budget planning for the upcoming year. What’s more, preventative winter facility preparation tips should help you yield significant long-term savings. How so? They enable you to prepare for 2022 and protect your facility from harsh winter weather, unexpected damage caused by the elements, and general deterioration occurring from cold weather, disuse, or wear-and-tear.

Inspect the Condition of the Building in Time

Never underestimate the importance of locating the weak spots in the facility before cold weather sets in. You or your facility management should execute a thorough inspection of the facility. A preventive, comprehensive facility inspection should allow you to assess the extent of the damages and organize the necessary maintenance projects in due time.

The point of having an inspection is to pinpoint which contractors you need to call to mend existing problems. Yet, any potential damage or deterioration due to cold weather should also be on your radar. This means that preparing your facility for the winter should include not only reparation of current but also prevention of possible problems in or outside of your facility.

Clean Ducts and Filters in Your HVAC System

Having a dirty or dysfunctional HVAC filter does not merely result in unpleasant smells inside your facility. It is also a potential health hazard, particularly now that we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Small particles entering the facility bind viruses, bacteria, spores, and other damaging substances, carrying them all across the workplace.

office space with social distancing
Next to social distancing, your facility should also ensure good air quality.

Another problem lies in the fact that you cannot open the windows as frequently when freezing temperatures kick in. Hence, the efficiency and hygiene of your HVAC and air ventilation system in your facility have to be top-notch come winter. Likewise, cleaning the ducts from dust, dirt, debris and mold should be on top of your winter facility preparation checklist.

In fact, experts advise switching to special HVAC filters capable of trapping small particles as it helps control the spread of the coronavirus air-wise. Just keep in mind that such filters can get clogged more quickly in comparison to regular HVAC filters. This is perfectly normal, but it might necessitate changing the filters before the winter months for air circulation without any harmful substances.

If you are running a medical facility such as a dental practice, or a medical office, ensuring good air quality is paramount. Make sure your facility management is on top of the task.

Clean the Gutters

In the fall, leaves can clog up the gutters, leading to substantial water damage if left unresolved. Namely, the problem can be compounded if the piled-up debris gets frozen and covered by snow in the winter. What happens is that facility cleaning is most frequently associated with cleaning the inside of the building exclusively. Hence, you should definitely ask a facility services management company about a gutter cleaning service. Clean the debris, snow and ice in the gutters regularly in the winter.

stairs of a facility
Make sure the gutters are clean during the winter months.

Pay Attention to the Exterior of the Facility

As mentioned, winter facility preparation should include cleaning and maintenance of both the facility’s interior and exterior. So, be sure to inspect and fix leaking roofs, window and door insultation, the attic, crawl spaces, and other external components of the facility before heavy rain, snow and hail get in the way.

Typically, timely repairs save a lot of money in the future. Some contractors may even refuse or postpone their arrival at the site during harsh weather. That’s why paying attention to external elements of your facility might be even more important than setting up the interior for the winter.

a man measuring a roof with a tool
Repair potential leaks before winter kicks in.

Take Inventory as Part of Your Winter Facility Preparations

In the winter, purchasing the supplies necessary for the functioning of your facility from time to time is typically not a good management strategy. Whether you are running a fitness facility or a school, it is a mistake to expect every single shipment to arrive on time. In case of a blizzard or a storm, the supplier might outright refuse to send the shipment. In other cases, the delivery vehicle might get stuck in the mud or snow. Or – worst case scenario – swerve off the road. Such a miscalculation can be a severe setback to your company or institution.

As a result, it makes sense to organize a storage space within or near your facility. In this way, you can order enough supplies and access them whenever you need them. Yet, be careful about what you choose to place inside the storage unit. Some items are forbidden in storage facilities, so be sure to inform yourself and avoid serious repercussions that could lead to unnecessary waste of supplies.

Prepare for Power Outages

In most severe cases, storms can knock out power lines, leading to a power outage in your facility. Power shortages can put not only facility itself at risk, but also the people inside the facility. Unfortunately, the power grids can become overloaded in the winter as many buildings increase their energy needs.

But part of your winter facility preparation should be accounting for these kinds of occurrences. Emergency lighting and a backup generator should help you bridge the hap and keep the facility working until the power comes back on again. So, make sure you have easily accessible first aid kits and flashlights if a power outage happens this winter.