Your Comprehensive Fall Checklist for Winterizing Your Commercial Building

The unforgiving cold, snow, and ice of winter can cause serious damage to commercial properties if you do not adequately prepare for it.

Water damage, utilities out, unwanted critters, rusting metal, rotting wood, cracks and holes in brick and concrete, escaping heat, frozen pipes… Is your building ready?

Over the last 15 years, Strada Real Estate has developed a comprehensive fall checklist for winterizing commercial buildings, and now we’re sharing that checklist with you.

Here is a list of the things you should be doing to prepare your commercial building for winter, based off the list our own highly trained technicians use.

  1. Check and clean all building gutters and downspouts. Pull out all the leaves and debris that are clogging the building’s gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters prevent water from draining off the roof, which can cause serious water damage! While cleaning, look for and tighten any loose components that could cause leaks.

  2. Remove all leaves and debris from sewers and drains located on the property.  These areas must also be kept clear for water to drain properly. Any water that doesn’t drain properly could ice over and block the sewers and drains.

  3. Remove all sprinkler hoses and spray nozzle devices from the exterior of the building.  Drain, clean, and roll up all outdoor hoses and store them inside to protect them from the elements. Remove all water from decorative fountains, bird baths and other outdoor containers so it doesn’t freeze and crack when it thaws.

  4. Insulate all interior water piping that is exposed or close to exterior walls.  This will reduce freezing of pipes or pipe splits. Where there are excessive cold temperatures or infiltration, heat tapes may be required to fully prevent broken or frozen water lines.

  5. Inspect all rooftop HVAC unit drain pans for water build up. A clogged condensate line will cause water to build up in the drain pan. It’s important to correct this problem to protect the HVAC equipment and avoid unnecessary repair costs, while also preventing water damage to the building.

  6. Inspect all furnace vent terminations and air intakes for cracks, small animals or damage. For metal furnace venting, inspect for pitting and deterioration. Where plastic vent pipe is installed, inspect runs and fitting for cracks or loose joints where heat can escape.

  7. Inspect all exterior door seals and all window seals (both interior and exterior sides).  Door or window seals that are worn or damaged will need to be replaced. Door and window repairs should be completed before the heating season begins. Otherwise, you may notice the building is not easy to warm up, or you may receive a high electric/gas bill!

  8. Remove accumulations of salt underneath doors. Sweeping the door thresholds on a regular basis allows doors to open and close easily. It also reduces air infiltration into the building from doors that are stuck open during the winter. Lubricating all door hinges during winter months is also a good idea to keep doors opening and closing easily.

  9. Have a small inventory of snow melt on hand at the property. While the primary source for snow removal should be a snow removal contractor, it’s always a good idea to have snow melt on hand to de-ice walkways.

  10. Paint all exposed metal or wood surfaces. Water causes metal to rust and wood to crack, blister, peel, rot, flake and warp. The paint helps seal and protect the surfaces from this damage.

  11. Ensure all sump pump covers are properly placed. This reduces small animal migration into buildings.

  12. Enclose all exterior electrical outlets and electrical boxes. Weatherproof covers keep moisture and dirt from compromising outlets and electrical boxes.

  13. Inspect all building exterior masonry, such as chimneys, for tuckpointing repairs. Any chips or holes can allow moisture to be absorbed by the bricks and mortar, and during the winter, this moisture freezes and expands, further breaking down the masonry and creating progressively larger and larger holes and cracks. The freeze-thaw cycle can cause significant damage and deterioration in as little as one winter.

  14. Repair concrete cracks in sidewalks and stairs as well as asphalt potholes in parking lots and driveways. These repairs are a great preventive measure against further damage that can occur throughout the freeze-thaw cycles of winter.

As you look at this fall maintenance checklist, do you feel like you’ve got all the right tasks lined up for your maintenance vendors?

If you’re worried about getting it all done in time or you’re not sure who to call to take care of each of these tasks, give us a call at 630.325.9301 or email us at info@stradarealestate.com

 

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