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Weather Advisory: Time to Prepare for Winter Facility Managment

Weather Advisory: Time to Prepare for Winter Facility Managment

In Northwest Ohio, winter has a way of sneaking up on you. Are you prepared for winter’s effects on your facility?

J anice Stillman, the editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, has a warning for her readers. “This coming winter could well be one of the longest and coldest that we’ve seen in years,” she says. 

This year’s edition of the Almanac predicts a “Season of Shivers” featuring bone-chilling temperatures throughout much of the nation. The publication has forecast the country’s weather for more than two centuries with an 80 percent accuracy record.

Winter’s inclement weather can suddenly strike in Northwest Ohio, pushing idle heating systems into service, weakening roofs, and damaging outdoor landscaping. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for preparing your facility for winter. 

Check the Furnace

At this point in the year, your facility’s furnace has probably sat unused for months. Will it fire up reliably when the first cold snap hits?

Autumn is an excellent time to arrange preventative furnace maintenance before outdoor temperatures drop too low. Professional HVAC technicians will check your system for efficiency and overall condition. Services typically include: 

  • Examining pilot safety switches and temperature controls—and replacing, if necessary
  • Inspecting the heat exchanger, motor, fan, and drive-belts
  • Testing the thermostat for accuracy
  • Cleaning or replacing air filters

Now is also ideal for checking air ducts for dust or debris, damage, and leakage. 

Inspect the Roof

Just as a flat roof’s membrane responds to summer’s heat by expanding, it shrinks in winter’s cold. Those fluctuations can take a toll on roofing over time and weaken the structure’s defense against ice, snow, and water.

Prepare for heavy snowfall by having your roof inspected for membrane damage, obstructed drains, and pooling water that could cause leaking. Make any necessary repairs now—before winter increases the danger of working on the roof. 

It’s also important to clear gutters of leaves and other debris that lead to clogging, standing ice, and the formation of dangerous large icicles.

Plan for Snow and Ice

Don’t wait until the first significant winter storm hits to begin thinking about snow and ice removal. Having a snow management plan is vital to keeping your facility accessible and safe for employees and visitors.

Start by determining how you’ll remove snow from parking areas, delivery zones, and walkways around your building. If you plan to hire an outside company for snow removal, contracting for those services well in advance can secure your place on their priority list. If you intend to use internal maintenance staff, ensure your snow-blowing equipment is in good working condition.

Next, be sure to map out where to pile all the snow you remove. Mounded snow can take up needed parking spaces, block entrances or exits, and damage landscaping. Find a place that causes the slightest impact, and be sure to communicate your wishes to those removing the snow.

Whenever possible, apply deicing salt on paved areas before winter storms to prevent snow and ice sticking and provide a bit of traction for walkers.

Step Up Your Floor Maintenance

Winter and its elements cause added wear and tear on commercial flooring. Snow and ice get tracked indoors, causing buildups of mud, salt, and moisture. Therefore, facilities should increase floor maintenance efforts throughout the winter months.   

A winter floor management plan should include adding indoor and outdoor safety mats at entryways to capture snow and salt and keep interior floors clean and dry. 

It’s essential to wet mop hard flooring surfaces frequently during the winter using a neutral cleaner that removes salt residue while protecting against damage. Soiled floors create dirty mops and mop buckets, so be sure to replace mop water often.    

While it might seem counterproductive—and an uphill battle—increasing deep cleaning efforts throughout the winter helps extend your flooring’s lifespan. Whether it’s having the carpet cleaned professionally or scrubbing your hard surfaces often, you’ll keep your floors looking their best all winter.

This year’s edition of the Almanac predicts a “Season of Shivers” featuring bone-chilling temperatures throughout much of the nation. The publication has forecast the country’s weather for more than two centuries with an 80 percent accuracy record.

Let CorpClean design an ongoing maintenance plan for your facility.

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What to Ask When Choosing an Office Cleaning Service

What to Ask When Choosing an Office Cleaning Service

How to determine which commercial cleaning service is the right fit for your business.

H iring new team members for your business demands thoroughness and care. You likely have go-to interview questions you ask job candidates when considering their qualifications. So why not apply that same due diligence when selecting a commercial cleaning service?

You should, of course, ask potential cleaning vendors how much their services cost, along with typical questions about experience, licensing, and insurance. And you will want to request a list of references. Indeed, the answers to those common inquiries can help you determine whether prospective providers meet the minimum requirements for professional cleaning companies. But they won’t explain how the cleaning service will satisfy your specific needs.

Here’s a list of questions intended to help you best determine whether a cleaning service is a good fit for your company.

Do you specialize in cleaning specific business types or facility sizes?

Cleaning services often have particular niches or sweet spots they fill, which can work to your advantage. Companies heavy on experience with physicians’ offices or schools, for example, are familiar with the specific cleaning needs of those facilities. And some companies might be best staffed to service buildings of particular sizes or ranges, such as 10,000 to 100,000 square feet. You’ll want to find a commercial cleaning service well suited for your situation.

How flexible is your scheduling?

Whether it means cleaning after or during your regular business hours, a commercial cleaning service must be able to work around your schedule—not the other way around. Ask about a customized program that allows you to stipulate the service level you want, such as daily, weekly, or monthly service, to address your specific needs.

How do you ensure your service quality?

Professional cleaning companies have long relied on customer feedback to gauge perceived service quality and customer satisfaction. But today’s business leaders expect vendors to measure their actual results. Therefore, top companies now employ industry metrics and inspection software to assess the consistency of their service. Make sure a vendor can adequately track and respond to any quality issues that arise.

Do you use subcontractors to provide any of your services?

It’s common for vendors to outsource some of the services they provide, especially during today’s labor shortage. Subcontracting often results in economies of scale that vendors share with customers through lower prices. However, if a cleaning company says it uses subcontractors, it’s good to ask this follow-up: How do you ensure the quality of the services you outsource? Whether a cleaning vendor’s services are self-provided or subcontracted, you should expect its quality standards to remain unchanged.

What type of cleaning products do you use?

High-traffic business settings can become prone to dirt and germs that are too tough for household cleaners to tackle. But some commercial-grade cleaning and disinfecting products are toxic or corrosive, posing potential risks to your staff. Ask would-be cleaning vendors about the supplies they use. While proven effective against germs and viruses, products should be EPA-approved and free of bleach, phosphates, and other harsh chemicals.

How do you screen your employees?

Your cleaning company’s employees will be inside your business, so you want to ensure they are trustworthy. After-hours cleaners will have access to keys and alarm codes, proprietary information, and inventory. Many cleaning companies perform criminal background checks on new hires and periodic illegal substance screening on active employees to protect their clients. Ask what steps the vendor takes to keep its employees from endangering your business or its reputation.

Are you more than a cleaning company?

Some successful cleaning companies offer services beyond janitorial work. Full-service facility management and maintenance companies repair heating and air conditioning systems, handle lightbulb replacement, perform lawn care, and much more. And many will create a preventative maintenance schedule that’s appropriate for your facility. Be sure to ask what else your cleaning vendor can do for you.

Hiring new team members for your business demands thoroughness and care. So why not apply that same due diligence when selecting a commercial cleaning service?

We offer commercial cleaning services throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Creating customizable schedules and services is our specialty.

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4 Reasons to Outsource Your Facility Management and Maintenance

According to McKinsey & Company, outsourcing accounts for more than 50 percent of North America’s total facilities management market. For many companies, outsourcing offers clear opportunities for reducing costs and improving overall productivity. Unfortunately, measuring the tangible benefits of outsourcing is not always easy. But here are four perspectives to consider when weighing the advantages of using an outside facility management and maintenance company.

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