Winterize Your Enterprise!
It’s almost always sunny here in LA, and it might seem weird we’re putting a small business winterization post up this early. We do however, have customers all over the US and Canada in areas where winter can pose a significant problem to not just to comfort, but to business efficiency as well.
A properly winterized work area will not only have more comfortable customers and employees - it will also be better for the environment as well. Here’s a few things to look over now, before winter actually sets in.
9.) Caulking and Weather Stripping
You should be checking this regardless of the climate or season. Properly sealed and insulated workspaces allow both furnaces and airconditioners to work their best, saving you up to 20% in energy expenses. To prevent air leaks, inspect the caulking and seals around windows and doors. Replace any cracked or otherwise deteriorated seals. Make sure windows and doors are actually airtight as well.
Here’s a video that shows how to install weather stripping:
Improperly winterized water pipes can burst or cause plumbing fittings to seize up, causing your business quite a lot of grief. Here’s a video demonstrating how to properly winterize pipes in a home setting. It should be the similar for most small businesses.
7.) Ceiling fans
These are are an often overlooked way of saving energy by allowing both your a/c and furnaces to work more efficiently. Look for models with motors that can turn both both clockwise and counterclockwise. In the summer, turn them on counterclockwise to help circulate cool air from your a/c. In the winter, reverse the direction to draw warm air down to floor level.
It goes without saying that you should check the filters to ensure better air quality in your workspace. Also consider upgrading to a newer, more efficient model if your furnace is over a decade old.
5) Heating Ducts
If your workspace has heating ducts, make sure to check if the insulation needs replacing. If your ducts are not insulated, it’s seriously time to install some batting. This should allow your furnace to run a bit cooler while keeping you just as comfy, which all means fewer energy costs.
4.) Emergency Kits
Hopefully you wouldn’t need this, but when you do you’ll be glad you had it. Getting snowed in without the essentials will usually just result in minor discomfort, sure. But a particularly bad storm can kill you. Your kit should include flashlights, candles and matches, thermal blankets, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food and perhaps most importantly, a battery-powered/solar-powered radio. If you have a vehicle you use for business, include a kit in the trunk as well.
3.) Work Vehicles
This is a pretty involved process and as a result, there are plenty of accidents that happen year after year as cold weather sets in and people realize (sometimes way too late) that they delayed the necessary seasonal fixes a bit too long.
Here’s a video on how to winterize your vehicles properly:
2.) Gutters, eaves, and Ridge Vents
If your business has its own roof, make sure to check these to make sure these are clear and that rainwater hasn’t pooled in them. Uncleared pools of water may expand, damaging the gutters, and even possibly ruining part of your building.
1.) Windows and Doors
Switch out screen windows and doors for glass or storm windows to further improve insulation. There are also plenty of window and door insulation kits you could install yourself.
Check out this video that explains how to install a typical insulation kit.
Doing some of these will actually net you immediate results now, in terms of helping energy-efficiency. Don’t waste any more time than you have to preparing for winter. It just make more sense that way.
Sources and Additional Reading
Cheap Tips to Winterize Your Home - The Business Insider
DIY Home Energy Audits - Energy.gov
Winterize you Home - The Daily Green
Winterize without Poisoning Your Family -How Stuff Works
Winterize Your Commercial Property (pdf) - NAI Earle Furman, LLC
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