PAVEMENT should be anti-iced before
winter weather begins.
No matter what climate or location you live in, winter is coming. The severity, of course, depends on
location. Whether you live somewhere
where the temperatures only drop slightly,
you're seeing frost or keeping an eye out
for snow, experts agree now is the time
to prepare your building for winter.
Buildings in some locations might only
need to focus on HVAC and IAQ, while
others need to get ready inside and out.
Healthy HVAC Tips
Because the HVAC system affects your
entire building, it's important it's tuned
up and ready for winter weather.
Joe Marian Jr., service manager
at ABM Industries, acknowledges each
facility type and actual building is dif-
ferent, but there are common actions to
prepare for winter weather:
n Have a full inspection of the HVAC
equipment before winter by a quali-
fied service technician.
n Uncover opportunities for energy sav-
ings. Set space thermostats to lower
set points. Shut down unnecessary
cooling equipment and systems.
n Close off main water and drain water
piping in unheated spaces.
n Drain and winterize cooling towers, if
not in use.
n Be aware of IAQ. Find out how not to
let sick building syndrome reduce pro-
ductivity in your facility.
n Inspect roofs, weather stripping and
insulation for holes or leaks and repair
to prevent energy loss.
n Ensure the building envelope doesn't
have significant air leaks or areas of
Except for the HVAC equipment
inspection and anything involving code
or equipment manufacturer requirements, much of this can be done in-house. "The on-site staff knows their
facility better than anyone," Marian says.
"And in most cases, the winterization
process is a matter of common sense
and proper housekeeping."
Think of winter preparation as insur-
ance on the equipment. Kevin Miskewicz,
director of commercial product planning
at Mitsubishi Electric, says that "prop-
erly protecting your HVAC system from
extreme weather conditions can improve
its performance and lifespan. Investing
in snow hoods, wind baffles and outdoor
unit stands prevents snow and ice from
getting inside the equipment and poten-
tially causing damage."
Marian suggests looking at winterizing
from three angles:
1) Energy savings. Think about how
each space within a building is used.
"Let's say the facility has a conference
room that's used once a week for an
hourlong meeting, a gym, a warehouse
and a shared office space that's occupied
40 hours a week," Miskewicz says.
"All of these spaces have different cooling and heating needs. The conference
room, for example, doesn't need to be
constantly heated if it's unoccupied. The
way the facility manager approaches the
needs of the different spaces has a big
impact on occupant comfort and the facil-ity's utility bills."
2) Occupant comfort. Making sure
tenants and visitors are comfortable is
important. Being in the building when
the heat turns on for the first time can be
3) Disaster prevention. Prevent fro-
zen and bursting water pipes. "Any one
of these water systems freezing up can
cause catastrophic equipment failures,
infrastructure damage from water leaks or
life safety issues," Marian explains.
Inspect Roof Now and
If you haven't had your roof inspected
recently, include that among your winter
preparation to-dos. This will help ensure
the roof is in good condition going into
inclement weather. Temperature changes
and precipitation typically found during
the winter can be difficult on a roof.
In "Win the Winter Roofing War" (bit.
ly/2m TPIDK), Adam Herring, senior project manager at Highland Commercial
Roofing, says that "some building owners
perform these in-house, but if you plan to
hire someone else to do the inspection,
take into consideration that there could
be long lead times as you get closer to
winter and plan accordingly."
He also suggests looking for roof damage caused by birds, especially around
HVAC equipment or places where water
collects. The inspection is also an opportunity to remove debris and organic material that may have collected.
Throughout the winter, Herring encourages periodic checks of how the roof
looks to make sure nothing is wrong or
building up (e.g. icicles at the gutter,
which could indicate an ice dam, or a pile
of snow blocking an access ladder).
Knowing all you can about your roof
(including what to do if something happens and proper care and maintenance)
will make winter upkeep and safety easier.
Snow Removal Solutions
If not properly removed and main-
tained, snow can cause underlying
problems. For example, ice can build
up when snow or rain freezes, increas-
ing the chances for slip-and-fall accidents.
Another consideration from not properly
removing snow includes obstruction of
things like fire hydrants, signs and handi-
cap parking spaces.
Brad Caton, founder and CEO
of Invictus Professional Snowfighters Ltd.,
suggests that facility managers be
Tips to Prepare Your Building for Winter
NOW IS THE TIME TO DO NECESSARY MAINTENANCE AND INSPECTIONS AND BUY SUPPLIES