Many businesses make the smart real estate investment of buying a commercial office building. At first, it sounds like a great idea to the business owner because of the cost savings in leasing office space. Then, the office space seems pretty great for a while or at least until the property needs to be managed. Whether you hire a property management company to come in and take care of your commercial space or do it in house yourself, it is important to understand what needs to be done.
Winter Is Coming
With the winter weather just around the corner along with the rain, ice and snow creeping up on us, many business owners are looking for ways in which to ensure that their commercial pipes don’t freeze over and burst at this cold time of year. Winter weather is notorious for causing burst pipes, as water can freeze up inside the pipes and cause pressure resulting in a leak or even worse a completely burst pipe. Cold weather is also a cause for cracks in building pipes, especially if they’re made of older and more worn material. Certainly, winter is the worst possible time to get a burst pipe. Nobody wants to have to turn off the regulated office heating system during the freezing cold because a pipe has burst, not to mention the damage that a burst pipe can do to your office space. Follow these tips to ensure that your commercial property’s pipes are prepared to withstand the winter weather and don’t end up causing chaos for your business.
Since pipes burst because they are at freezing temperatures, you should ensure that you have adequate insulation. Commercial insulation should be installed around your pipes, and also in other areas such as any company warehouse or loading spaces. Not only will this help to prevent a pipe burst, it’ll also keep your commercial building warmer during the winter, making for less expensive energy bills.
Automated Heating System
You should keep your automated heating system at a minimum of 12-15C if the weather is forecast to be cold or freezing. This will keep the water flowing through your pipes warmed up, meaning that they’ll be less likely to freeze over and cause a build-up which results in a burst. It’s a good idea to have your building’s boiler and heating system serviced. Additionally, it would be a good idea to have your pipes checked by a reputable plumbing service in order to get any necessary repairs to be carried out before the colder weather kicks in as a preventative measure. Certainly, the best businesses use preventive strategies rather than waiting for something to go wrong.
Warmer Air In The Office
Allowing warmer air to circulate around your office building can also prevent the event of a burst pipe. Leave the doors open to the conference room or meeting rooms, as this can help the warmer air to circulate better, reaching the pipes that are closer to the corner offices. It’s also a good idea to leave your storage areas open sometimes, as most commercial storage spaces do not have a heater. This allows the warmer air from your heated offices to help prevent anything from freezing over and causing any business accidents.
Outside Building Faucets
During the winter, it isn’t likely that your property management team is going to be using any outdoor faucets a lot. In order to prevent the pipes connecting to them from freezing, it’s a good idea to turn the water supply flowing to them off at the mains. Unless you have a mains boiler which requires constant pressure, you should turn off the mains supply.
Company Holiday Or Vacations
If you’re going to be off for the holidays during the winter, the last thing that you will want is to return to frozen pipes at the office, or even worse, pipes that have burst thanks to the cold weather whilst you weren’t there. Since leaving your office heating system on is not economical while you and employees are home for the holidays, you may want to leave your mains water supply turned off. If you are going to be closed for business for a longer time, it may be worth completely draining your cold water system, so that there is no cold water left in the pipes to freeze.
What To Do If A Pipe Freezes
If you find a pipe that has frozen, thankfully there are ways that you can thaw it without having to experience a leak or leave it to burst. Gentle heat works best, as applying a lot of heat to the pipe in order to get it to thaw will only cause it to crack and bring on a leak. The best way to get a frozen pipe to thaw is by applying towels soaked in warm water. This will thaw out the frozen water in the pipe slowly, so as not to cause any damage which could lead to the pipe bursting. If a pipe does burst, you should turn off the mains water supply and contact a plumber straight away.
General Building Maintenance
In addition to being prepared for the long, hard months of winter according to business law, you must also consider the incredible benefits to routine commercial building maintenance. Here are some services that you you should take care of to ensure OSHA compliance, GMP compliance, NIOSH compliance, or any other industry requirement.
- Restroom sanitizing and acid cleaning
- Commercial kitchen cleaning
- Allergen neutralization
- Litter or waste removal
Depending upon the industry your commercial building operates in, you may need to do just one of these or all of these things. However, it is important to be certain that you keep up with these tasks or find a commercial building maintenance company to do it for you. This is incredibly important to help avoid costly fines and building repairs.
Plumbing maintenance is a vital part of all commercial building maintenance processes. You should be checking commercial plumbing annually. This is particularly true in regards to exposed pipes that could be damaged from exposure to cold in the warm months. Make sure to check pipes yearly as well as all other plumbing parts and functions. Otherwise, it could lead to a costly and unpalatable disaster in the future.
Of course, as a business owner, you may not want to take the time out of your busy day to do all this on top of getting your forklift certification to be able to do it. However, when it does come time to take care of the commercial building your company has invested in, you will know how to make it through the winter successfully. Then, you can easily hire property managers and ensure that your commercial space is being well cared for even in the coldest months.