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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?

Janice 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.