It’s that time all students and faculty have been waiting for since the beginning of the school year –winter break. Even though you may not be gone that long, it is important to winterize your facility and close it up properly before it remains vacant for an extended period of time. By not shutting off main water valves or maintaining building temperature, you risk weather damage or frozen burst pipes. Making sure the building is closed up tight will ensure it remains in the same condition until you return.
Winterize Your School
To properly seal up and winterize your school before everyone leaves for winter break, follow these steps.
Do a Gutter and Downspout Cleaning
Clean gutters and downspouts are the key to all things water damage-related. Making sure your school’s gutters are free from dirt, leaves, and other debris will ensure that melting snow, rain, and ice will freely flow down through your gutters and away from your facility. Clogged gutters and downspouts will prevent snow and ice from passing through and create ice dams, which can lead to further roof, siding, and water damage.
Conduct a Roof Check
Winter weather damage can occur from damaged roofs. Check your school’s roof for damage shingles or tiles, as well as cracks or holes. Repair or replace all damaged areas. If you can’t get on your facility’s roof, hire a professional like Alpha Omega.
Insulate Pipes from Freezing
Most of school facility’s flooding issues are caused by frozen pipes. To prevent this, add insulation (or even extra insulation) to all pipes, especially those connecting to the outside or running through uninsulated areas like a crawlspace, parking garage, attic, cupboard, or closet.
Turn Off Main Water Shut Off Valve
Shut off all cut-off valves on exterior faucets, disconnect hoses, and wrap exterior spigots to insulate and winterize them from the cold. Shut the main water shut off valve to prevent water from flowing to cafeteria appliances, hoses and pipes to avoid freezing.
Turn on the Heat
You may think that because no one will be in the building that you should turn off the heat to save money. However, if the building temperature falls below 55F, it can lead to pipes freezing and bursting, which can lead to water damage and mold growth. Prop open cabinets and doors where deemed necessary, and consider turning your faucets on a steady drip to prevent the lines from freezing.
Clean and Service Furnace
Have a professional come out and test the furnace regularly, including once before break. The professional can make sure the filter is changed, the furnace is fully functioning, and that there’s no strong odor. Cleaning and maintaining the furnace will lessen the likelihood of fire damage if it gets too hot or frozen pipes if it ceases to work, allowing the building to get too cold.
Check Smoke Detector Batteries
Before you leave, make sure all of your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, emergency lighting and exit sign bulbs are in good working order. Your smoke detectors should be tested every month and replaced after 10 years. Try to test them as close to winter break as possible to lessen the chance that their batteries will stop working while the facility is closed.
Snow Removal Plan
In Montana, you never know how much snow will come down during winter break. To prevent any unnecessary snow and ice issues, have a snow removal plan for your facility. This may mean having a snow blower or tractor ready to go, or contracting snow removal services. Have snow and ice melting product available, and hire a crew or person to place it around the school property when snow falls.
We Can Help Your School Recover From Water Damage and Flooding From Winter Weather
Contact Alpha-Omega Disaster Restoration. At Alpha Omega, we have a trained, certified, and licensed emergency response team available 24/7. They’ll assess your situation, make a plan, and work directly with your insurance company. We want to restore your school as quickly and safely as possible, to get your facility back up and running.