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Preparing Your Buildings For Winter Weather

Preparing Your Buildings For Winter Weather

The winter weather in Colorado is notoriously unpredictable – warm temperatures and sunshine one day, cold and snow the next. So what can be done to protect your buildings from winter weather?

Planning before the winter weather hits is important! To begin the process of “winterizing” your buildings, you should look closely at the roofs and walls, access, heating and cooling systems, fire protection systems, security and communication systems, and water supplies.

Access to Buildings:
Arrangements should be made to ensure emergency access on all roads leading to the facility. Snow removal services should be in place through the entity, county, or a private contractor.

Facility Roofs:
The largest weather-related property damage results from roof system failures. High winds and drifting snow can challenge the best roof designs. Inadequate heating of structures can cause overloading as well. To help prevent roof damage or failure, follow these steps:

  • Remove excessive snow accumulation from the roof, especially from vulnerable areas.
  • Make sure roofs that slope towards internal drains have slopes of at least 1/4 inch per foot.  If not, check routinely for ponding water during the winter months.
  • Examine the roof for any structural problems – leaks are usually the first sign of a problem.
  • Clean all drains, gutters and down spouts.

Heating Systems:
The failure of a heating system may not only cause roof problems, but it can impair fire protection systems and cause extensive water damage as pipes freeze and burst. Heating systems, including all fuel-burning equipment, should be routinely checked and tested in advance of the cold weather.

Fire Protection Systems:
Buildings protected by wet pipe sprinkler systems should have thermostats set to temperatures above 40° F, and unattended buildings need a protective signaling device to monitor low building temperatures.

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