As the autumn leaves fall, it’s time to prepare yourcommercial building for winter conditions. Mother Nature can be unpredictable,so why leave the fate of your property against the harsh season to chance?Fortunately, routine inspections and minor enhancements can drastically reducethe chances of costly insurance claims. Don’t let winter catch you off guard, followour expert advice to safeguard your commercial property.
Essential Winter Property Protection Measures
Defend Your Plumbing Against Freeze
Don’t let burst pipes dampen your winter. These common culprits of winter property damage can lead to water damage, mold growth and costly repairs. Take proactive measures to prevent expensive claims:
- Invest in a reliable freeze-prevention monitoring system that alerts when temperatures plummet dangerously low.
- Swiftly seal any structural holes, cracks or openings to keep cold air out.
- Insulate your plumbing to prevent frozen pipes and remember to shut off exterior faucets.
- Hire a licensed fire-protection company to ensure your sprinkler system is functioning properly.
Eliminate Ice & Snow Hazards
Don’t let the parking lot and sidewalks become treacherous. Hire a reliable contractor for snow removal and assign a maintenance employee to assess your property for timely snow and ice removal. They can also evaluate when conditions are safe for staff and customers.
Can your building withstand heavy snowfall? Don’t wait for roof damage, schedule a consultation with a structural engineer to determine your roof’s snow threshold. This invaluable information will allow you to gauge the risk of snow weight causing damage. Consider hiring a professional snow removal contractor who can lighten the load and prevent snow-related accidents.
Exposures From Guttering
Inspect your gutters and drains for signs of damage. Ensurethey’re securely attached to the building and free from debris. Accumulatedsnow and ice on the roof can lead to freezing and cause roof problems that mightdamage your interior. Additionally, check your gutters and downspouts for waterbackup concerns.
Power up With Alternative Energy Solutions
When the elements wreak havoc on your business, a swift recoveryis crucial. Generators can effectively support your business’ quick recoveryfrom a snow or ice storm and mitigate the impact of power outages. They canalso keep building temperatures above freezing to prevent burst pipes. Investin a backup generator to ensure your business stays up and running. If yourbuilding has a permanent generator, ensure a qualified professional routinelyprovides upkeep. Portable generators should be stored in dry environments andundergo routine testing to verify the unit operates properly.
Don’t Overlook Landscaping
Inspect all vegetation near your building and prune any overgrownbushes or trees. Those icy, snow-filled branches can cause damage to yourwindows, roofing and overall structure. Prevent power outages and disruptionsby trimming tree branches that are too close to power lines. Locate, drain andshut off your irrigation system to prevent any potential damage or leaks duringthe colder months.
Prevent HVAC System Issues
Taking care of your HVAC system is crucial to ensure optimalperformance, especially when the temperatures drop. Schedule preventivemaintenance to catch any issues before they become major headaches. Consider aservice agreement with a licensed repair company that’s available for unexpectedemergencies.
Establish a Business Continuity Plan
Prepare an employee communication strategy for extreme weather conditions. Make sure your staff is well-prepared and fully informed about business procedures for temperature drops or hazardous road conditions. Your plan should cover all the bases, from snow and ice removal to interior precautionary measures (e.g., non-slip mats) to prevent accidents. Regularly review and reinforce the plan to ensure employees are confident in their roles.
Optimize Your Insurance Coverage
Are you maximizing your insurance coverage? Partner withyour insurance broker to thoroughly review your policies and gain a clearunderstanding of what’s covered and excluded. Your broker can also providevaluable risk mitigation strategies that can help reduce your exposures.Maintain a comprehensive and regularly updated inventory of your assets in theevent you need to file a winter-weather claim.
Invest in Winter Property Protection Improvement Projects
Colder temperatures introduce a host of risks that can wreakhavoc on your property. Fortunately, improvement projects can safeguard yourbuilding including:
Upgrade Your Internal Systems
Stay one step ahead of costly damages with these game-changing enhancements to your commercial properties:
- Implement an innovative monitoring system that instantly alerts when building temperatures drop below a predetermined minimum
- Install an automatic excess flow valve on the main, incoming domestic water line, equipped to detect and report broken pipes or valves at an early stage.
- Utilize wireless sensors to identify leaks near water sources (e.g., water tanks, commercial appliances)
- Employ UL-approved gas or electric heaters to warm rooms housing sprinkler control valves and fire pumps
- Fortify valuable computer equipment with surge protectors to prevent potential electrical damage.
- Use snow guards or snow cleats to prevent snow from sliding on a steep slope roof.
- Invest in high-quality self-regulating heating cables.
- Apply a moisture barrier to the roof deck along the eaves to prevent water intrusion caused by ice dams.
Consider Window & Door Replacement
Upgrade your windows for optimal efficiency and year-round comfort. Replace outdated single-pane windows with double- or triple-pane windows that boost thermal resistance (R-value) and thermal break. A higher R-value indicates better performance in resisting heat transfer. Integrating a thermal break, insulation built within the window frame decreases thermal transfer. Upgrade your exterior and roll-up doors to maximize their R-value. Don’t wait for water damage, replace any windows or doors showing signs of age.
Enhance Your Roof's Resliance — Prevent Ice Dams
Winter weather can wreak havoc on the integrity of your roof and lead to tremendous structural damage. Safeguard your commercial building’s roof by implementing these upgrades and preventive features:
- Install snow guards or snow cleats to prevent the movement of snow on steeply sloped roofs.
- Control ice formation with premium self-regulating heating cables that maintain optimal temperatures.
- Integrate a moisture barrier along the eaves of the roof deck, preventing water infiltration caused by ice dams.
We’re Here to Help Protect Against Winter Weather Hazards
Don’t let the challenges of ice, snow and cold conditions catch you off guard. Now is the ideal time to take necessary measures to safeguard your commercial property and its occupants Connect with a member of our team for additional risk mitigation strategies and explore the various commercial property insurance coverage options available. Let’s keep your property safe and sound together.