January 27, 2022
Winterizing: Protecting Yourself, Others, and Your Property From the Risks of Winter
Category: Hickory Tips
Winter comes every year and along with it comes some safety issues to consider. Snow, ice, freezing rain, and extremely cold weather are likely during the season. Being prepared can go a long way towards protecting you, your family, and your property from possible damage and liability. Please consider these potential issues and how to properly prepare for them:
Heat / HVAC / Generator Maintenance
- It is recommended to keep a service and maintenance agreement in place with your HVAC contractor. This service has proven to be much more cost effective than needing emergency attention when there is snow and ice in your area.
- It is a good idea to test your HVAC in “heat” mode during the fall.
- Note: please be aware that when you first run your heat for the season you may get a burning smell. This is from dust that has accumulated on the heating elements and should dissipate quickly.
- If your property is equipped with a backup power (generator system), it is important that this system is maintained regularly and testing periodically to ensure readiness. An ice storm can knock out power for extended periods of time and a backup system can keep you safe and warm as well as protect your home from the elements. You do not want to get into a situation where power is needed, and you do not have it.
Snow and Ice
- Have some Ice Melt product on hand. Uline Ice Melt is a great, and well-tested product to fight against snow and ice.
- Avoid ordinary rock salt as it can damage concrete and other surfaces.
- Disconnect water hoses from connections. Drain hoses to prevent damage. Use insulated covers to protect hose connections. Keep an eye on connections as some leaks may not be detectable until the hoses are back in use.
- In the event of extremely cold weather, leave a sink dripping to keep water moving in the line.
- Keep HVAC running while you are away. Pipes have the potential to freeze if there is no heat source.
- Does your property have a fire protection system? If so, you should have it serviced annually and monitor its functionality in extreme low temperatures.
- Ensure unheated areas are winterized and/or shut off and drained.
- Note: Pools, pool houses, outdoor kitchens, storage, or free-standing hose connections need special attention
- Sprinkler systems should be drained or blown dry with air and shut off.
- A fountain or pond may be at risk of freezing, causing lines to burst. It may be wise to drain the water feature in advance if there is no heating feature available.
- For your commercial properties, consider placing “Danger,” “Slippery Surface” signs, or cones out in high-volume areas for safety and liability.
- Ensure all windows and doors are shut and latched and proper weather stripping is still intact.
- Plan ahead: Consider an off-season upgrade to your insulation or windows and doors. Keeping the cold air out and warm air in helps your energy efficiency and the overall health and safety of your home.