The weather in New York has been unpredictable to say the least; one day it is below freezing temperatures with snow on the ground, the next day it is 55 degrees with over an inch of rain flooding the streets. Unfortunately, extreme weather conditions this winter caused several buildings across the area to experience frozen pipes and loss of heat and electricity.
“In the case of extreme weather conditions, facility owners should be proactive with ensuring their HVAC systems and pipes are up-to-date and functioning properly,” said Bud Hammer, President of Atlantic Westchester, a commercial and industrial HVAC business. “Businesses can’t afford to not properly maintain their core systems. When a building has old or broken down systems that have not been properly maintained it will ultimately fail at some point in the future, causing a great loss of money, time and reputation for the building’s owner and its occupants.”
Below, are some tips from Bud about how building owners can help properly maintain their systems during freezing temperatures and conditions:
- Wifi thermostats or a building management system can be configured to alert building personnel if a low temperature condition occurs inside a building or an HVAC system has unexpectedly shutdown/failed. This will give a facility manager and/or building owner time to react to an issue before it becomes a disaster.
- A backup generator can help a building maintain critical systems such as heat and electricity during storms or unexpected interruptions in utility power. For certain buildings, the generator can be enrolled in a utility demand response program which will help offset the cost of installation and usage. A win-win situation for the building and the utility.
- Periodic preventive maintenance and mid-season HVAC equipment inspections can help predict failures before they occur. It’s always less expensive to be proactive vs. reactive.
- Build quality relationships with service providers you trust, that will service and maintain systems professionally and be there if you need them in case of emergency.
- Develop a disaster preparedness plan for all facility personnel to follow in case an event strikes. Reach out to a damage restoration firm to establish a go-to resource in case they are needed at night, on weekends or holidays.
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss what events are covered to make sure that the facility can get back to operation as soon as possible with limited business interruption.
- If possible, set up remote access to office computer systems and offsite data back up so the business can continue operating while the office is unexpectedly closed.
- Evaluate heating systems and add freeze protection such as antifreeze or low temperature safeties to safeguard freeze ups and failures.