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Winter is Coming

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

The temperatures may still be in the 80's but winter is coming. With all the recent disasters, you probably haven't thought much about preparing for cold weather but now is the time to make plans to ensure your restaurants are ready. Are your contractors ready? Is the equipment ready to perform effectively and efficiently? It's time to finalize plans to ensure your stores are prepared. Following are a list of activities to review and complete before the cold hits:

- RTU's. Are the fall start-ups scheduled with your contractors? These units need to be checked for proper winter operation. Heat exchangers, blower motors, filters, wiring, and belts all need to be looked at and serviced as required. Now is still a good time to replace a cracked heat exchanger if needed. May be a good time to replace the belts also. Don't want to lose heat in the winter on such an inexpensive repair. Make sure an additional belt is on hand for emergencies.

- Building air balance. Are your building negative or positively balanced? After a long hot summer there may be some adjustments necessary to have a slight positive building air balance. This is extremely important during the frigid temperature conditions in the winter. A negative balance will waste energy and, more importantly, create drafts which will make customers and employees uncomfortable. Have your contractor add this task to the fall check list. Make sure the technician is fully versed on what an store air balance is and how to correct issue(s) effecting it.

- Roof drains. Make sure these are clean and free of debris. With normal fall and winter precipitation, water needs to be drained properly off the roof. Check the flashings and roof seams for damage as water penetration then freezing will cause leaks and potentially expensive repairs.

- Irrigation systems. Have the lines completely drained and unhook all hoses from their spigots.

- Exterior lighting. Going to be getting darker earlier. Make sure all parking lot, building, and walkway lights are working and turning on and off at appropriate times. Reprogram the timers as required.

- Exterior doors. Are the sweeps in good condition? Change as necessary. This will keep the cold out along with pests.

- Snow removal. Who is responsible for the snow removal at the restaurant? If it's not handled by the landlord, do you have a contract in place for snow and ice removal? Is it updated? What are the parameters when they need to come out to plow? After 2 or 3 inches? Work out the details now or the facilities liability may be increased.

- Thermostats. Reprogram accordingly for winter operation.

- Pest control. Colder weather drives pests inside where it's warmer. Schedule your restaurants accordingly for a treatment and review their report to correct any minor facility issues to keep pests out.

Getting ready for winter now saves money, time, and increases customer and employee satisfaction which always protects your brand.

Always looking for feedback. What other activities do you complete for winter preparation? Let me know.

Dover and out.

Tags:  building air balanc  HVAC  roof drains. cold weather  snow removal  winter equipment start-ups 

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