Below are a few of the steps you can take today to address the most common problems that cause property damage in winter.
Cold air in enclosed spaces
* Visually inspect concealed spaces for gaps in wall materials; water pipes in these areas can
freeze if unprotected.
* Keep these spaces warmed to at least 50° F or use certified heat tape
Sprinkler systems and related equipment
* Keep building temperatures at 50° F for wet-pipe systems, including the enclosures housing a riser equipped with a dry pipe valve
* Dry pipe systems should be drained at the low point prior to the onset of cold weather
* Service and inspect all hydrants, tanks, fire dept. connections and sprinkler system accessories before the onset of cold weather
General building protection
* Inspect vacant buildings or unoccupied areas of the building during cold weather to be sure heating systems are functioning properly
* Identify sources of cold air infiltration and repair leaks or seals
* Inspect roofs to be sure they can withstand snow loads; remove snow from roofs if roof strength is in question
* Keep gutters, downspouts and roof drains clear to avoid clogging and freezing
Preventing ice dams
* Increase insulation above ceilings inside the building
* Consider the use of heating cables to prevent ice dams
* Increase ventilation in attic spaces
* Inspect roofs for evidence of standing water (mold, mildew, vegetation) that might indicate future problems, and address the situation with a roofing contractor SAFELY remove snow with a roof rake or stiff-bristled broom when ice dams have been a problem (always follow OSHA guidelines for worker safety during roof work)
Responding to a heat loss event
* Drain any equipment that contains water that could freeze if the temperature drops
* Investigate sources of temporary heat to be prepared for low temperatures
* Train security or maintenance/facility personnel in how to close automatic sprinkler valves if a leak or break should occur.
Source: The Hanover Insurance Group