By Jewelers Mutual Group
Don’t get left out in the cold when winter weather threatens your business’s physical structure. If you experience significant damage to your building, you may be forced to close until repairs are made—meaning you’ll miss out on serving your customers and generating revenue.
Here are some common problem areas in commercial buildings and ways to identify potential issues before they get worse as well as what to do in the event of a power outage from strong winds or ice accumulation.
If your roof is sloped, installing heating cables on the bottom is an easy and efficient way to melt any excess snow or ice that begins to accumulate. This will allow any water to run off as it normally would during warmer months.
When snow begins to pile up, a “roof rake” is a simple solution for giving your roof some relief. However, if your roof isn’t in good repair in the first place, the water could still be a detriment to the rest of your facilities.
Your best defense against heating system malfunctions is to ensure your system is maintained all year long. This includes doing a test of your heating system during the fall before you need to use it.
While your air conditioning unit won’t be running, the same principle of year-long maintenance applies to this system as well.
Strong winds and heavy snow can cause considerable damage to the condensing unit of your A/C, so it’s important to keep it covered during harsh winter weather conditions.
Also, remember to clear the area of any debris that may have accumulated near the unit during the fall and summer months, such as leaves. To prevent moisture from collecting around the unit, make sure the tarp you cover it with is made from a breathable material.
The biggest threat to your pipes during winter isn’t just that they can freeze, but they can also burst.
Because of this danger, it’s important to insulate pipes that are exposed, regardless if they are hot or cold lines. Proper insulation throughout your building can also save a considerable amount on your utility bill.
If pipes do freeze, open the faucet and use a space heater, heat lamp, or even a hairdryer to attempt to thaw them before they burst. Once the thawing begins, keep your faucets open so water can properly move through the line, preventing a rupture or a burst pipe.
It’s also advised to let all your faucets constantly drip during extremely cold weather. The constant movement of the water will help prevent your pipes from freezing.
Parking Lots and Walkways
Make sure you are always well-stocked with sand and ice melt (salt) throughout the winter. Apply it regularly and if your supply runs low, try and stock up before the next storm is forecasted.
If walkways have slick spots, be sure to communicate that to your customers—the last thing you want is a slip-and-fall lawsuit on top of any other repairs you may have to make.
Hire a reputable and punctual plow service that can clear your parking lot shortly after each snowfall. After selecting a plow company, don’t forget to ask them for a certificate of insurance and have your business listed as an additional insured on their liability insurance.
Strong winds and ice accumulation are two common causes of power outages during winter storms. While a power outage may not affect your physical property or inventory directly, it does make your business more vulnerable to burglary.
Here are some tips to keep your business secure in the event of a power outage:
- Without endangering your personal safety, make a visit to your business.
- Have an up-to-date call list so alarm system notifications can be responded to promptly.
- Put high-value merchandise away in your safe.
- Double-check that your roof and common walls with other adjacent properties are adequately protected.
- Be sure your burglar alarm system has operational line security.
- Check that your safes provide adequate physical protection.
Another great way to protect your jewelry business from the perils of winter weather is to use easy-to-install sensors that monitor your business 24/7. These sensors detect water damage from a burst pipe and extreme temperature changes inside your business. Some types of sensors can even detect a power outage. If these issues are detected, you’ll receive a text or email alert on your phone.
If you are a Jewelers Mutual Group policyholder, the sensors are available at no charge. Find out more about the sensor program and how to enroll.
The information featured is intended to provide general education about the subject matter covered.
Jewelers Mutual Group coverage is offered by either Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, SI (a stock insurer) or JM Specialty Insurance Company. Policyholders are members of Jewelers Mutual Holding Company.