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Protecting Your Facility Against Winter Weather

David Wilhite Comments
Posted in Articles, Insurance

By David Wilhite

Winter Weather Precaution Checklist


  • Maintain indoor temperatures above 40 degrees in heated areas to prevent pipe freeze-ups.
  • Ensure that doors and windows are weather-tight and secure any unnecessary openings.
  • Inspect remote areas for possible freezing and keep portable heaters on hand.

Roofs and Gutters

  • Assess (with the help of a structural engineer) your roof's capacity for excessive snow loads and keep levels within safe bounds.
  • Monitor snow levels in roof areas susceptible to large drifts and clear excess accumulation immediately.

Heating Systems

  • Examine the entire heating system on a weekly basis during cold weather and repair any deficiencies immediately.
  • Ensure heating equipment is capable of maintaining building temperatures above freezing at the coldest point within the building.
  • Boilers: Completely drain idle equipment, elevate low points and dead ends, and check all service lines for freezing. Install heat tracing around control-line transmitter boxes and piping that carries water.

Water Lines

  • Regularly clear snow away from sprinkler control valves, vents and other vital equipment.
  • Leave outside water faucets open to drain.
  • Install snap-on insulation on pipes subject to extreme wind chill.

Fire Protection Equipment

  • Establish a regular maintenance program to ensure that snow and ice are cleared away from hydrants, sprinkler control valves, smoke and heat vents, and other essential equipment, so that all equipment is accessible during emergencies.
  • Lubricate all sprinkler-control valves and locks to prevent freezing.
  • Label location of outside sprinkler-control valves and hydrants for easy visibility.


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Winter-Weather Terminology

Winter Storm Watch:

Winter Storm Warning:

Blizzard Warning:

Heavy Snow Warning:

Freezing Rain Warning:

Snow Advisory:

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