Logistics professionals and fleet owners can prepare for winter easily with these warehouse winterizing tips. It can be challenging to winterize warehouse equipment and facilities with so much to keep track of every year. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Managers can take basic steps to ensure they effectively prep their facility for cold weather.
Anyone planning to winterize warehouse equipment and facilities should start early. The first step to successfully winterizing a warehouse is plenty of advanced planning.
This will ensure personnel have the supplies they need and a safe workspace when winter comes. Plus, adequate planning makes this season much less stressful. Here are some key steps to include in any warehouse winterizing process.
1. Check Window and Door Seals
One of the first steps any logistics professional, fleet manager or warehouse operator should take to winterize their facilities is checking seals. Door and window seals are one of the main ways cold air leaks into buildings. This can cripple HVAC performance in the winter by letting warm air out and cool air in, creating drafts and causing unnecessarily high heating costs.
There are a few ways to find air leaks in a warehouse, including visual inspection, a blower test and a building pressurization check. Some people prefer to hire an outside expert, but this can also be done independently.
Identified leaks will need to be resealed with caulking or weatherstripping. The whole process can take several days, given the size of the average warehouse, so managers should leave plenty of time for seal checks before winter hits.
2. Do an HVAC Tuneup
A high-performance HVAC system is crucial in cold weather. Managers should schedule time for a thorough tuneup to winterize warehouse equipment and facilities. Changing air filters is important year-around. Warehouse HVAC systems need an in-depth checkup that goes well beyond the filter.
This process should include checking for signs of mold or moisture buildup, which can pose a serious health hazard. Any exterior components, such as outdoor-facing vents, should be checked for signs of rust or damage.
Additionally, the HVAC system will also benefit from an overall cleaning. Debris buildup in vents or shafts should be removed, both indoors and outdoors. Finally, while AC won’t be needed when it gets cold out, this is also a good time to clean up evaporator coils and drainage lines to minimize the amount of moisture or contaminants in the system.
3. Service Air Compressors and Water Tanks
Logistics professionals should also set aside time to service all air compressor units and water tanks around the warehouse. This equipment can suffer from condensation buildup and may be at risk of freezing at low temperatures. Warehouse managers must ensure everything is in the best condition possible to prepare for winter.
Luckily, it is easy and straightforward to service both types of tanks. Air compressor winterizing requires checking the weatherstripping and insulation for leaks or damage. A general servicing and cleanup is also a good idea. Pay special attention to any signs of excess condensation or moisture in the tank.
Water tanks require a similar process. In addition to inspecting the tank for signs of damage, rust or leaks, they also need a pipe check. Pipes can eventually corrode, so a thorough inspection of the lines connected to tanks is required. It’s vital to ensure there are no signs of mold forming anywhere.
4. Prepare Slip Prevention Gear
Slip prevention is one of the easiest steps to winterize warehouse equipment and facilities, but it’s often forgotten until the snow begins to fall. Facilities should stock up on salt well in advance. Waiting until winter can lead to higher prices and less availability.
Additionally, the warehouse interior must be made ready for wet weather. Management should install mats at all doors and entryways to minimize liquid tracked in from outside. It may also be worth considering getting a mat or textured coating installed on any sleek floors in work areas. Floor coatings aren’t strictly necessary to prepare for winter, but they can help prevent employees from slipping.
In addition to preventing falls and slips, protective coatings can also keep surfaces around the warehouse from getting moisture damage and improve overall durability. This could be helpful in areas such as aisles with particularly high foot and forklift traffic.
5. Do a Drainage Checkup
A drainage checkup is critical to successfully prepare for winter. The last thing anyone wants in their warehouse is a leak right when snow hits. This is easy to prevent ahead of time, though. A drainage check involves inspecting the warehouse’s pipes, gutters and roof. All debris should be cleared away, such as leaves and sticks. It may also be a good idea to clean out gutters at the end of fall, after leaves have stopped dropping off nearby trees.
Everything should be thoroughly inspected for damage, leaks and rust. The roof should also be checked for any areas where water is building up or leaks are forming. Water buildup tends to be a bigger problem with flat roofs, which may need repairs to address any puddling and prevent water damage. A complete drainage check can be complicated, so an outside expert may be necessary for this step.
6. Arrange for Snow Removal
Finally, make sure to winterize warehouse equipment and facilities for the entire season by arranging snow removal ahead of time. Some larger warehouses may already have a facility maintenance crew with adequate equipment, in which case this step won’t be necessary.
For those who do not have professional snow removal services on hand, it is a good idea to get in touch with local pros before winter hits. Parking lots and loading docks must remain clear of snow for any warehouse to operate successfully in winter. Contacting providers in advance will ensure managers get the best rates and know what to expect.
In the worst-case scenario, if a bad storm hits, the warehouse or logistics manager can make a response plan with an informed estimate for when the snow will be cleared out.
Prepare for Winter Like a Pro and Winterize Warehouse Equipment the Right Way
Anyone looking to winterize warehouse equipment and facilities must start with a clear action plan. These steps and tips provide an easy starting point that can help professionals prepare for winter. Facilities won’t slow down with the change of seasons if they are properly prepared.
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