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6 Tips for Preparing Your Commercial Property for Winter

November 27, 2023

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6 Tips for Preparing Your Commercial Property for Winter

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As winter approaches, the importance of cold weather readiness is crucial for commercial properties.

The colder months introduce a unique set of challenges that can significantly impact operations and infrastructure. From plummeting temperatures and snowfall to icy conditions, wintertime poses many potential risks ranging from property damage to disruptions in daily business activities.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the key components for preparing your property for winter and which proactive measures to take to diminish risks, protect your commercial property, and ensure seamless business operations throughout the season.

How to Prep Your Commercial Property for the Cold Months

Compared to other regions in the country, we experience relatively mild winters here in the Pacific Northwest. Despite this, it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to prepare your commercial property for all of the changes that the winter season brings. 

We’ve compiled six tips that building owners and office and facilities managers should incorporate into their routine maintenance schedule to keep commercial properties functioning optimally in the cold winter months.

1. Storm Drains

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Preparing your storm drains for winter — especially in commercial properties — is vital to prevent devastating issues caused by freezing temperatures and inclement weather.

Begin by inspecting the storm drain system thoroughly, removing any debris or blockages that may impede proper water flow. Make sure that grates and covers are securely in place to prevent the accumulation of snow and ice within the drains.

2. Gutters

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Preparing the gutters in a commercial property is one of the most important steps to take to ensure that your commercial property is functioning properly for the entire winter.

Begin by thoroughly cleaning out debris, leaves, and any blockages that might hinder proper water drainage. Make sure that the gutters are securely attached and free from leaks, and if you haven’t yet, install gutter guards to prevent clogs and facilitate smoother water flow. 

Double-check that water flow is directed away from the building's foundation to mitigate the risk of ice formation. Applying a de-icing agent or heat tape to the gutters can also help prevent ice buildup.

It is recommended that gutters are routinely inspected throughout the winter season, especially after wind, rain, or snowstorms. 

3. Roofs

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When preparing a commercial property for the winter, start by conducting a thorough inspection of the roof to check for any existing damage or potential vulnerabilities. 

Clear the gutters and drainage systems of debris, and inspect the insulation to guarantee effective temperature regulation and energy efficiency. Make sure to assess the condition of the roof's surface to identify any leaks or weak points, and apply weather-resistant sealants for added protection.

Regular maintenance is essential to fortify the roof of your commercial property, which helps to ensure long-term durability and resilience throughout the cold PNW months.

4. Ice Management

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Effective ice management is integral to maintaining your commercial property through the winter months.

Implementing proactive measures, such as applying ice melt or rock salt to sidewalks and entryways, helps prevent slippery surfaces, reducing the risk of accidents for employees, customers, and visitors. Partner with a vendor to regularly inspect and treat parking areas and driveways with de-icing agents to add an extra layer of safety. 

We’ve touched on the importance of roof and gutter maintenance, but it is worth mentioning again to help you prevent ice buildup. The timely removal of accumulated snow ensures that your structural integrity remains intact. 

Investing in quality ice management not only enhances the safety of visitors and employees but also protects the property from potential damage caused by freezing temperatures.

5. Lighting

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Start by inspecting all exterior lights to guarantee they’re in good working condition, and replace any burnt-out bulbs or damaged fixtures. Consider installing weather-resistant and energy-efficient LED bulbs, which perform well in colder temperatures. 

Address any issues with interior lighting, and make sure all areas are well-lit. Double-check that your emergency lighting systems are functioning properly in case of power outages or inclement weather. 

Proactive maintenance in the warmer months and upgrades to lighting infrastructure contribute to a well-prepared and efficient commercial property, promoting a secure and well-lit environment throughout the winter season.

6. Landscaping

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Preparing the landscaping for the winter involves a combination of protective measures and strategic planning. Make sure to trim trees and bushes and remove any dead or overhanging branches that could break under heavy snow. 

Clear the landscape of fallen leaves and debris to prevent blockages, and consider applying a layer of mulch around plants and flower beds to insulate roots and protect them from freezing temperatures. It may be a good idea to plant winter-resistant plants to maintain visual appeal during the colder months. 

Lastly, make sure to shut down and store irrigation systems to prevent damage from freezing temperatures.

The Hot Take on Cold Weather Readiness

Taking the time to prepare your buildings for the winter season, and inspecting them regularly throughout the season, will help limit the possibility of damage to your commercial investment and its systems, no matter how harsh or mild the winter season will be.

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