Hello RFMA members,
Another hot summer is ending and it's still a bit warm but now it's time to begin preparing for cold weather. Are your restaurants and contractors ready? Do you have your snow removal contract specifics finalized? Are the HVAC's ready for heat mode? Following are a brief list of activities to concentrate on to ensure your facilities are ready for winter:
- RTU's. Are the fall start-ups scheduled with your contractors to check on 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 and possibly train a restaurant employee on emergency replacement.
- Building air balance. Are your building positively balanced? After a long 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 trained on what an store air balance is and how to correct issues 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 flashing and roof seams for damage as water penetration then freezing will cause leaks and potentially expensive repairs. Have any issues professionally repaired.
- Irrigation systems. Check with your landscapers to drain the lines and unhook all hoses from their spigots. Mat want them to do a final inspection on the entire system so it'll be ready in the spring
- Exterior lighting. With darkness coming earlier, make sure all parking lot, building, and walkway lights are working and programmed for proper on/off times.
- Exterior doors. Are the sweeps in good condition? Change as necessary. This will keep the cold out along with the 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 and minimize facilities liabilities. Having a contract in place should put your facilities in a higher priority position to get plowed.
- Thermostats. Reprogram accordingly for winter operation. In extreme cold climates do not program below 60-65 degrees.
- 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.
Jeff Dover, CRFP
Facilities Resource Manager | Restaurant Facility Management Association
972-805-0905 ext. 3