Winter in New England can be unpredictable. Freezing temperatures, high winds, and heavy snow are just a few of the things you, as a business owner, have to contend with when winter inevitably arrives. Don’t wait for the first snowstorm or below zero night to prevent your facility from sever winter weather damage—the time to prepare is now! Here are a few tips to help you and your business prepare for winter this year.

PROBLEM: Frozen Pipes                                                                                              
PREVENT IT: With careful planning and preventative                                         
maintenance, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of                                
property damage from bursting water pipes.                                                           
* Identify and label the main water shut-off valve in your building.                   
* Repair any broken building components (heating equipment,                          
windows, doors, walls) that could cause heat loss.                                                    
* Look for unheated areas where water supply and fire                                          
protection sprinkler lines may be located (basement, attic,                                   
crawl spaces).                                                                                                                   
* Extend your heating system to unheated areas. Provide                                          
insulation, seal, or caulk as necessary.                                                                         
* Drain non-fire protection pipes that can be shut down for                                      
winter. Detach and drain outdoor hoses and lines.                                                 
* Apply non-toxic anti-freeze to drains and traps in unheated                                   
and concealed spaces.                                                                                                   
* Always make sure the building’s thermostat is kept at a                                          
minimum of 60 degrees when the building is vacant, even                                    
if just for a few days.                                                                                                           
* Maintain adequate heat to prevent sprinkler freeze-ups. If                                    
your system is a dry sprinkler system, have your low points                                     
drained of condensate, which can freeze and cause leakage.      

 PROBLEM: Snow Loads/Ice Dams
PREVENT IT: Heavy snow loads can result in sagging, leaking,
and even roof collapse—problems that may not only create
damage to your building and contents, but could also interrupt
your business operations.
* Inspect the roof for damage areas that may need replacing
or patching.
* Establish a plan to have snow and/or ice dams cleared
from roofs. Make sure that individuals working on roofs
follow all applicable OSHA regulations, and ensure that
third-party contractors have adequate liability and workers
compensation coverage in place. Obtain a copy of their
certificate of insurance prior to hiring them.
* Roof drains should be cleared to deter ponding of water
and help remove excess weight.
* Be sure to have your heating systems inspected by a qualified
contractor before the winter weather sets in.
* If your facility uses solid fuels, have your chimney cleaned
and installation inspected.
* Establish a contingency plan for emergencies. Have the
following phone numbers readily available: local police and
fire departments, heating and roofing contractors, sprinkler
contractors, and rental equipment providers.

Blog post courtesy of Arbella Insurance Group (