Avoid costly surprises by preparing your church building for winter. Facility winterization prevents problems and fortifies your campus for winter months giving you peace of mind. Here’s a checklist to help you prepare:
1. Turn exterior water faucets off and cover them.
Since water inside hoses freezes, disconnect all hoses from outdoor faucets and store them indoors. When temperatures drop below zero, check your church facility for the possibility of a burst pipe within the building.
2. Clean your gutters well in preparation for winter.
Snow, ice, and heavy rain weigh quite a bit, so make sure all your gutters and downspouts are intact and cleaned prior to winter’s arrival. It’s important for melting snow, ice, and heavy rain to drain down and away from your church building.
3. Wrap your pipes to prevent them from bursting in the cold.
Pipes burst when temperatures freeze, and unwanted water damage results. Facility winterization basics include protecting your pipes that run outside your facility or through unheated areas such as attics. Protect your exposed pipes with heat tape or insulated wrap. Consider checking with your plumber about providing proper insulation for vulnerable pipes.
4. Have your facility’s roof inspected.
When a roof is not maintained properly, water damage can result. Have your roof checked to verify it is in good condition and confirm it is ready to handle the elements winter brings. Check your roof’s vents, chimney, and skylights for any damage that may need repairing. If there are water spots on your ceiling, a leak is obvious and must be addressed.
5. Fortify your windows and joints to decrease utilities.
Prior to winter, assess your premises for leaks and drafts. Gaps are primarily present around doors and windows, so pay special attention to these areas. For better comfort indoors and better utility bills throughout winter, seal windows with fresh caulking. Avoid potential discomfort from drafts by addressing any torn door seals prior to winter.
6. Clean and service your furnace.
Call a heating expert to have your furnace serviced prior to winter’s onset. Remember to replace your air filters monthly or as recommended by heating professionals. Understand that there is typically a unique odor during the first day a furnace is turned on for the winter, but it shouldn’t smell after the first day of use each year.
7. Test carbon monoxide and smoke detector units and replace batteries.
It’s wise to test your carbon monoxide and smoke detector units each month, and replace them every 10 years. Replace batteries within the units prior to winter and prior to summer annually.
8. Prepare for the elements.
Plan ahead for snow removal and icy conditions in order to ensure safety for your church members. Verify your snow blower or snow removal equipment is ready for use, or contract a snow removal service and have them on call for the winter season. Keep snow and ice melting products on hand and hefty shovels and gloves ready for your employees to put to use should you get snowed on just prior to a service.
9. Beef up your facility’s insulation.
Contact a licensed contractor to blow insulation into your attic. Be sure insulation is kept at least 3 inches away from recessed light fixtures and heat sources. Don’t cover electrical junction boxes that protrude into your church’s attic.
10. Warm up your church facility for winter comfort.
Avoid the inconvenience and expense of indoor pipe freezes. Keep heat at a minimum of 55 degrees. During extremely cold days and nights, prop doors and cabinets open and leave a drip of water running from your indoor faucets throughout the night.
11. Trim your bushes and shrubs.
Winterize your church facility by trimming your bushes and shrubs. The weight of snow and ice are hard on your beautiful landscaping. Preserve your bushes and shrubs by trimming them and cleaning out leaves or anything that may have lodged under them.
12. Fortify walkways and parking lots.
Winter is difficult on concrete parking lots and sidewalks. Inspect your walkways and parking lot each year prior to winter. Roughly every 4 years, fill in any cracks to seal and prevent moisture from penetrating them. When you use ice melt on your pavements, follow the directions! Too much ice melt can cause deterioration of both walkways and parking lots.