Helpful Winterization Tips for Your Commercial Building
Preparing your commercial building for the drop in temperatures this winter has a twofold purpose. Firstly, it will make the interior spaces of your building more comfortable for your employees and customers. Secondly, it will save you significant amounts of money on your monthly heating bills. Here are some winterization tips you can use to get your building ready for the season.
- Prepare your heating system: Any winterization techniques you apply will help reduce the stress on your HVAC system. The first and most important step is to contact your local trusted HVAC professional for a preventive maintenance visit. Your HVAC tech will be able to inspect your heating equipment, along with the ductwork, and make corrections and minor repairs that will keep the system working at its best. Maintenance will ensure the equipment functions properly and that it performs at its highest possible level of efficiency. The HVAC technician will perform tasks such as adjusting controls, testing operation, cleaning and tightening electrical connections, and changing air filters. Check the ventilation systems to ensure that potentially harmful exhaust gases, such as carbon monoxide, are properly vented to the outdoors.
- Seal and insulate ductwork: Along with attention to the HVAC equipment itself, you should make sure the ductwork is properly sealed and well insulated. The ductwork carries all of the heated air produced by your furnace or boiler, so any losses of heat or air in these pipes can result in significant waste and higher heating bills. Connections between duct sections should all be tight and sealed with mastic or metal tape. Any damaged sections should be replaced. Ducts should be insulated with an appropriate material, such as rigid fiberboard or standard blanket insulation. Make sure ductwork is tightly connected at all vents and registers.
- Seal building air leaks: Air leaks in the structure of your building can also cause wasteful air loss and reductions in indoor comfort. A commercial energy audit can help you determine exactly where these leaks are. Energy audits can locate even small, otherwise hidden leaks. When you know where the air leaks are, make sure they are sealed with caulking or other appropriate material.
Add weatherstripping around doors and windows to stop leaks in these common areas. If your commercial building has customers constantly entering and exiting, make sure the doors have weatherstripping, sweeps, or other devices to help keep cold air out. Pay particular attention to points where pipes, conduits, or wires penetrate the wall of your building and seal those areas.
- Increase insulation: The walls, floors, ceilings, and foundation of your building should be thoroughly insulated to stop the flow of heat from warmer to colder areas. Add insulation where there is not enough and put insulation in where there is none. Blanket-style insulation is commonly used between beams and joists in walls and floors. Foam or loose-fill insulation can be used for areas that are hard to reach with standard insulation, or that have an irregular shape that would make it difficult to install blanket insulation. It is also a good idea to insulate the plumbing pipes to prevent freezing, especially if any sections of the pipes travel through an area of the building that may get particularly cold.
- Check the roof: Check the roof for any damage, holes, or similar problems that could mean leaks when snow or ice melt. Roof winterization should include inspections of flashing or seals around roof penetrations for vents, pipes, and chimneys. Make sure the roof is capable of handling the weight of snow or ice and that there is little likelihood that ice buildup could fall off the roof and hit any pedestrians below.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on winterization for a commercial building, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
Photo Credit: Kachi/Pixabay