“Winter is coming.” Are you getting as tired of hearing that phrase and acknowledging its relevance as we are? Unfortunately, it’s a warning that should be heeded by all commercial and retail business owners and operators, especially in the frigid Northeast, where storms have been known to wreak havoc throughout the unpredictable season. Case in point, every 5 inches of old snow that accumulates on an establishment’s roof is equal to 5 pounds per square foot, and, when it reaches a depth of 2 feet, it could mean major renovations and/or the need for a new roof.
Hopefully we will have a calm winter season, blessed with little to no snowfall, and, in the happenstance that a miracle of such proportions will not grace the Northeast, that you will not allow such an accumulation to occur. Either way, by winterizing your commercial property, you can prepare for whatever surprises Mother Nature can throw our way this year.
Perform a Winterization Check
This detail-intensive task ensures that pipes don’t freeze, winter bills stay manageable and customers and clients stay comfortable:
– Check for any outdoor lighting issues, including broken fixtures and underground wiring breaks. Winter means shorter days and an increased reliance on lighting, make sure visitors know you are open and can easily navigate the trip from their car to your door.
– Check the winterization of your pipes, and turn off and drain outdoor spigots, to help prevent them from freezing and rupturing.
– Perform boiler startups, and consider having your heating system inspected and cleaned to ensure a warm office/store when the temperatures drop to unbearable. Then turn on those heaters to help your clients and customers comfortably defrost and enjoy their time in your space.
– Winterize overhead and service doors and check every door to make sure they close properly; this will keep your heating bills a bit more manageable.
– Consider installing self-regulating roof, gutter and downspout deicing cables to prevent the aforementioned accumulation hazards.
Clear Access Points as Necessary
If clients and customers cannot get through your doors, you might as well keep them closed for the season. And, if your sidewalks and access points are not cleared regularly and within reason during snowfalls, you risk the potential for slip and fall lawsuits. No sane business owner wants either of those things. That’s why it is crucial that you remove snow and ice from your parking lots and walkways as often as possible during storms and in their aftermath. Not only will your bottom line thank you, but so will your customers AND employees.
Don’t Forget about the Interior Walkways
So, you’ve hired a company to make sure your parking lot and walkways remain clear, and you regularly throw salt down on the sidewalks and in front of the entryway to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, accidents. Job done, right? Wrong. As customers, clients and employees enter your establishment, they track in that salt, as well as water and snow, leaving another potential slip hazard. Consider strategic rug placements and ensure that all employees stay aware of the area and its maintenance needs.