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Winterizing tips for business owners to prevent down time


A step-by-step guide to winterizing your office.

Preparing your business for winter is smart. It can save you money on expensive repairs, lost or damaged inventory, down time and lost productivity. And in return? You can concentrate your time and resources on growing your small business dream!

Whether you’re in a warm state or a cold one, these tips can help you keep your business running smoothly all winter long.

Preparing Roofs and Gutters

Test the Weight: Avoid damage to your roof from the weight of snow and ice. A structural engineer can determine the maximum loads your roof can withstand as well as provide solutions for improving roof strength if necessary.

Examine the Extras: Inspect gutters, hangers, seams, guards and downspouts. Heavy snow or ice can cause gutters to weaken and sag, leading them to break away from the building and allow water intrusion. Make sure they are well secured and leak-free, and that they drain water away from your building.

Check for Clogs: Inspect gutters and downspouts for clogs, which can trap snow and ice and add to the weight load on gutters. Clogged gutters and downspouts can also lead to ice dams, which prevent melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind this “dam” can leak into the building and damage walls, ceilings, insulation and your building’s contents.

Determine Direction: Keep downspouts away from sidewalks to and from your building. This will prevent the possibility of people slipping and injuring themselves on slick sidewalks.

Protecting Pipes

Slow the Flow: In bitter cold, let faucets drip slowly to keep water flowing through pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. In unoccupied spaces, insulate pipes to prevent freezing.

Warm Strategically: Protect pipes in unheated rooms with UL-approved portable heaters – especially if these rooms contain fire-suppression sprinkler control valves or pumps. Fire protection sprinkler systems should be monitored to provide early detection of a pipe rupture due to freezing.

Keeping Operations on Track

Plan for Snow: Be sure to remove snow from walkways, driveways and when necessary, your roof. This may involve contracting with a snow removal firm or having the appropriate equipment on hand. Also be sure to stock up on pavement de-icers and sand for traction.

Power Up: Install a backup power source that will power all critical components and equipment to keep your business operational in the event of a power failure.

Maintain Heat: Prevent indoor temperatures from reaching unsafe levels for employees, equipment and materials by installing backup heat sources. Be certain that any heater using combustion is properly vented outside to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.

Smart stockpiling: Stock extra supplies in case you or your employees become stranded at your business.


About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wis. - based American Family Insurance, celebrating its 90th anniversary in Oct. 2017, is the nation's 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks No. 332 on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General, Homesite and AssureStart) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the Internet or by phone. Web; Facebook; Twitter; Google+