Winter weather causes slippery conditions, structural damage to buildings from excessive snow loads, water damage from frozen pipes, and can create dangerous ice dams on the roof. Here are four larger improvement projects to prepare your building for the winter season.
1. Upgrade internal systems
- Install a monitoring system that provides notifications if the building’s temperature dips below a pre-determined minimum.
- Install an automatic excess flow valve on the main incoming domestic water line to monitor and provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve. Excess flow valves automatically stop the flow of water when preset flow settings are exceeded.
- Use wireless sensors to monitor leaks near water sources such as water tanks, commercial appliances, and the like.
- Install UL-approved gas or electric heaters in unheated sprinkler control valve and fire pump rooms.
- Implement a secure data backup solution to prevent data loss.
- Purchase and use power surge protectors to protect valuable computer equipment.
2. Invest in a generator
- Generators are an integral part of the preparedness planning process and can keep your business operating even if there’s a power outage. This can be especially crucial when temperatures are below freezing leaving the building vulnerable to internal temperature drops.
- Determine if a portable or permanent generator is the right fit for your business to provide cost-effective benefits while minimizing associated risks.
- Backup electrical power should be available and able to power critical electrical and mechanical systems that maintain vital business operations.
3. Replace windows and/or doors
- Older single pane windows provide minimal thermal resistance. Consider installing double or triple pane windows with a high thermal resistance (R-value) and thermal break. The R-value tells you how well a system can resist the transfer of heat; the higher the value the better that system performs. A thermal break is insulation built within the frame of the window to reduce thermal transfer.
- Install exterior personnel doors and roll-up doors that provide a high R-value.
- If windows or doors are showing signs of aging replace them to avoid potential interior or exterior building water damage.
4. Improve your roof – prevent ice dams
- Install snow guards or snow cleats to prevent snow sliding on a steep slope roof.
- When replacing your roof, consider professionally installing high-quality self-regulating heating cables. Make sure the heating cables are UL Listed, FM Approved, or Canadian Standard Association (CSA) Certified.
- When replacing your steep slope roof, discuss with your contractor about adding a moisture barrier to the roof deck along the eaves of the roof to prevent water intrusion caused by ice dams.