Here’s a checklist from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) that offers winter weather maintenance recommendations. Freezing temperatures, snow and ice can damage your property and cause big headaches.
- Find out how strong your roof is.
This is especially true for commercial buildings snow load. Contact a structural engineer.
- Inspect gutter hangers, seams, downspouts.
Heavy snow or ice can cause gutters to weaken and sag, leading them to break away from the building and allow for water intrusion.
- Inspect gutter for debris.
Leaves, dirt, shingle granules can trap snow and ice and cause gutters to detach and increase the risk of water damage. The most effective way to clear gutters is to use one of the tool kits available at hardware stores, which will greatly reduce the labor involved.
- Inspect commercial roof drains for debris and flow. PDM can help.
- Take action to prevent ice dams.
Roof-gutter icicles are the result of warm air from the home leaking into the roof structure. Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof or around drains and prevent melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind this “dam” can leak into the building and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.
- Protect pipes against freezing.
Frozen/burst pipes are the leading cause of property damage from winter weather. This is because water expands as it freezes, placing substantial pressure on, and weakening, the pipe material. While prevention of freezing pipes requires careful attention to temperature and water flow throughout the winter, actions taken in the off-season can reduce the likelihood of problems and make monitoring during the winter easier.
- Monitor water leaks.
A monitored automatic excess flow switch can be placed on the main incoming domestic water line to provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve when the space is unoccupied.
- Monitor interior temperature changes.
Interior building temperature can be monitored by a central monitoring company to ensure prompt notification if the interior of the building reaches low temperatures during after hours, power outages or idle periods.
- Protect plumbing in unoccupied spaces.
For unoccupied buildings, insulation and/or heat trace tape with a reliable power source may be installed on various indoor wet sprinkler system piping. This includes main lines coming up from underground passing through a wall as well as sprinkler branch lines.
- Protect unheated rooms.
UL-approved gas or electric unit heaters can be installed in unheated sprinkler control valve/fire pump rooms. If back up power is provided, the heaters should also be connected to this power source.
- Monitor fire sprinklers.
- Drain outdoor water systems.
- Plan for alternative power supplies.
Permanent or portable generators can help alleviate power outage issues and enable you to continue operating some or all of your electronic equipment. This will minimize down time due to power loss. Learn more about automatic standby natural gas back-up generators.
If you need winter plumbing, heating and drain maintenance contact your neighbors at PDM.