As temperatures continue to drop, it’s a good time to think about preparing your property for the long winter ahead. A few simple steps now can save you time, money and hassle this winter. But it’s essential to start sooner rather than later, before a sudden cold snap catches you by surprise. Here is our simple guide to winterizing your commercial real estate property.
Make a Plan for Snow & Ice Removal
It may sound obvious, but it’s essential to make sure you have a plan for efficient snow removal of your parking areas and sidewalks. For the safety of your tenants, employees or customers, make sure handrails are easily accessible and in working order and keep lots of salt available for de-icing the sidewalk.
Set up a contract for a snow plow service far in advance of the first snowfall. Look for a provider who will visit your property consistently, has a good reputation, and will spend extra time on ice removal as necessary. Even if your property is sitting vacant, routine clearing of the parking lot and driveways can help ensure that you or other maintenance crews can safely get inside in the event of a repair or emergency.
Check In On Your Gutters & Roof
Icicles are beautiful. Ice dams are not. Make sure to clear any debris from the gutters around your property prior to the first snowfall and consider installing gutter guards, if applicable, to prevent ice dams from building up. Ice dams occur when heavy snow buildup melts during the day and then refreezes when temperatures drop overnight. If left unaddressed, they can put excess pressure on your gutters and leak into your roofing, causing damage to your roofing material, insulation, interior ceilings, etc.
Protect Your Pipes
If your commercial property is an older building, it’s a good idea to check in on the insulation of your pipes and consider installing or replacing insulation on those that could be susceptible to freezing.
If your commercial property is going to remain empty for the winter, it is essential to winterize the pipes. We recommend consulting a plumber for this process unless you have experience with professional grade plumbing. For more on this, read this guide created by our NAI team.
Maximize Your Heating Dollars
Walk through your property to identify any opportunity for cold air to seep in. If you find broken seals or cracks in windows, doors or other exterior-facing fixtures that are leading to head loss, add caulk or weather stripping to keep cold air out. Consider calling in professionals to have your furnace or boiler system assessed and repaired, if needed. In addition, change your furnace filter to ensure efficient heating throughout the winter.
Be Prepared for Big Storms
Blizzards and ice storms can come on fast and can cause major damage if you’re not prepared. To start, make sure your property is equipped with basic tools such as wrenches, compressors, extension cords, and flashlights. These can come in handy for handling an unexpected emergency. Consider purchasing a generator to help the building’s heat and power remain on during a local power outage. Note: Never run gas or other fuel powered generators or heaters indoors. Exhaust from these generators contain high levels of carbon monoxide, which can result in serious injury or death from carbon monoxide poisoning.
If your commercial property is occupied with residential or commercial tenants, make sure they know how to reach you in the event of a power outage. You will need to know as soon as there is a power outage so you can step in to handle the situation. If your tenants pay their utilities directly to your service providers, make sure the company has a “leave on request” in place. If a tenant stops paying their bills or moves out unexpectedly, it will ensure that you don’t have unexpected frozen pipes.
For additional guidance on winterizing your property, we recommend you reach out to and/or request service from licensed plumbing and HVAC professionals. You can also reach out to our team at NAI Mid-Michigan. We can answer any questions you have about winter preparation and can connect you with qualified professionals who can get the job done.
Contact us today to learn more.