Winter Facility Equipment be ready! Identifying facility maintenance problems can be difficult if you have more than one building on site.  Winter facility preparation may require a different approach, depending on the type or style of the facilities.  Safety, as well as compliance, is an integral issue for management.  Energy efficiency, waste management and logistics need to be considered for industrial, commercial and even government spaces.  Having a preparation check list to address these concerns shifts the focus from a reactive approach to proactive.

Walk through and prepare for the worst

Many Ontario businesses are looking ahead to see what this winter may have in store for them.  The temperature in most of the province is below 0°C, day and night during the winter.  Temperatures can also drop to a chilling -30°C, which can be dangerous in a facility that is not properly insulated as it can cause problems for equipment.  Winter weather can cause cracked or burst pipes and render sprinkling systems useless.  Alternating periods of both cold and warm weather can create ground upheavals, seize mechanical parts and rust out material.  Frost and water seepage can lead to structural failure, costly repairs and energy leaks on a major scale.  It is good to periodically check the quality of the equipment and if you are unsure, call a maintenance service company to inspect your equipment.

Overhead Doors & Loading Docks

Overhead door and loading dock areas will have the most traffic in your facility year round and depending on the type of business, it might be busier during the winter months.  Due to the frigid weather, overhead doors should have their parts checked for rust or damage because this can become a safety hazard if something breaks.  This can also cause lost productivity, not to mention an expensive repair.  Your loading docks should be cleared of debris underneath because it may interfere with the mechanical or hydraulic moving parts and cause it to stop functioning.

Dock Seals

Having your dock seals repaired or replaced can save you hundreds in heating costs this winter if they are damaged.  When dock seals are operating correctly, a trailer will compress the foam pads in when it backs in and come to rest against the dock bumpers.  This forms a gasket-type seal around three sides of the trailer preventing any outside weather elements getting in.

Entrances & Exists

If your facility was designed with doors that open leading to the outdoors, cold/moist air drafts can radically affect the temperature and air quality of your facility.  You can consider tenting the front doorway or creating an obstruction to keep the winter air from rushing into the front foyer, cafeteria or plant floor where works are trying to conduct business.

Fire Test for Rolling Steel Doors

It is extremely important to test your rolling steel doors, and prior to winter is an excellent time.  Many rolling steel doors have easy-to-test features and insurance underwriters and NFPA requires that these be frequently tested to ensure continuous operational readiness.  Fire doors usually have a standard speed they need to drop and if you feel that your door is not operating correctly, call a maintenance service expert in for a second look.

Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems should be indicated on a diagram or map along with drains should the system ever require initiation.  Wet pipe sprinklers need to be protected from cold air so that pipes do not freeze, which would render the system inoperable.