Tips to Keep Your Business Warm & Dry in Winter
With the cold winter upon us, your business is increasingly vulnerable to water and storm damage. This damage can come in many forms and shapes from frozen pipes, collapsed roofs, condensation, foot traffic, snow, and ice-covered sidewalks, and power outages. While you can’t stop a blizzard from coming or keep the temperatures from dropping below zero, you can take some preventative steps to reduce the risks of winter weather damaging your business and hurting your employees.
Get a Backup Generator
With strong winter storms, ice and wind can wreak havoc on trees and power lines. As ice accumulates on tree branches, they eventually break and fall knocking down power lines and killing the power to your business. If the power is out for an extended amount of time and the temperatures are below freezing, the temperature inside your business can drop causing the water pipes to freeze and burst resulting in extensive water damage.
To reduce the risk of a power outage happening, you can invest in a backup power generator that will kick on if your business should lose power. Hopefully, the generator has enough fuel to keep your business heated until the power is able to be restored. It’s important to know how long your generator can run and to be sure to refuel it if the power is out for an extended time.
Keep Your Sidewalk and Parking Lot Clear
Keeping your sidewalk and parking clear of snow and ice will not only help reduce the risk of slip and falls by your employees and customers, but it will also help reduce them from tracking it into your business and soiling your floors. While you can hire a service company to shovel your parking lot and sidewalk, many of them won’t be able to keep them clear if the snow continues. That is why it’s important to have a few people at the office in charge of keeping, at least, your sidewalk clear. Salt on your sidewalk and parking lot can help melt any snow and ice and provide a grip for employees and customers walking into your business.
Keep Floors Dry
Employees and customers coming in and out of your business during the cold, wet winters will undoubtedly be tracking in water and dirt throughout the day. It’s important to check the floors and doormats on a regular basis to ensure they stay as clean and dry as possible. Not only will this help eliminate any slip and falls but it will also keep the water and dirt from causing further damage. Wet floors can lead to water and mold damage to your business. For busy entrances, you may want to switch out floor mats with new ones throughout the day to keep the water and dirt at bay.
Leave Sinks Dripping During Extreme Cold Temperatures
If you have any bathrooms or sinks located near exterior walls or colder areas, like a warehouse or garage, you will want to take a couple extra steps during extremely cold temperatures. If you know that the temperatures will be dropping to near or below zero, you will want to make sure your sinks are dripping water. The dripping water ensures that the water in the pipes leading to the sink are moving and don’t have time to freeze and burst the pipes. This is also a good tip to do at home also.
Check Pipes to Ensure They’re Insulated
If you have exposed water pipes in areas of your business that aren’t as well heated, you may want to insulate the pipes to ensure they don’t freeze. Many burst pipes in businesses are found in warehouses, garages, and near entrances that are constantly being opened. Insulating these pipes can also be beneficial during the hot summers as the insulation can prevent condensation on the pipes which can also lead to water damage.
Seal or Close Up Any Drafts
It doesn’t take much of a crack for the cold air and winds to find their way into your business. While that doesn’t seem troubling, if that crack is near a pipe, it could be big trouble. During a cold day, take a walk around your business and check for drafts. You can either check by feel using your hand or use a temperature gun to find any cool spots. If you’ve done any renovations or upgrades, like running cables from the outside into your business, you want to check for any holes or penetrations in the exterior walls that may not have been sealed up completely.
Remove Excess Snow and Ice from Roofs and Awnings
During heavy ice and snow storms, you will want to make sure the snow and ice don’t collect too much on your roofs, overhangs, and awnings. The weight of the snow and ice can cause collapses which can lead to extensive damage to your business. If you have a flat roof, you will want to check the roof after the storms to ensure the snow and ice are melting and that the water is running off and away from your business. Not only can the weight of the snow collapse your roof, but the melting snow can also pool up and leak down through cracks or holes in your roof and/or exterior.
Keep Interior Temps Above 60 Degrees
The last tip is to help reduce any risks of your pipes freezing and bursting. It is advisable to keep the interior temperature at or above 60 degrees in your business. While this shouldn’t be a problem in areas where your employees or customers are usually present, this could be a problem in garages, attics, basements, exterior buildings, storage areas, and warehouses. You may need to add insulation, more ducts to carry the heated air, or additional heaters to keep these areas sufficiently heated. It is usually these ignored or less trafficked areas of your business that will lead to frozen and burst pipes. And because these areas aren’t used or seen, the water damage can be quite substantial.
Keep Your Business Protected from the Cold Ohio Weather
By following the tips above and keeping an eye on the temps in your business, you can greatly reduce the risk of water and mold damage from a burst pipe this winter. But if you should experience water damage to your business, it’s important to act quickly to reduce any further damage and call the water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Fairfield County. We have the expertise and know-how to fix the damage and takes steps to prevent it from happening again. Give us a call any time and any day for your fire, water and mold damage problems.