$1.1 billion in insured losses were caused by winter storms in 2021. Insurance Information Institute
The Great Blizzard of 1888 lasted for 3 days in March, and spanned from Maine to Washington, D.C. Some areas received nearly 55 inches of snow and over 400 people were killed. AAA
Be careful with that shovel! More than 10,000 people end up in the emergency room each year due to snow shoveling injuries. FEMA
Seal cracks and insulate - Seal all cracks, holes, windows, doors, and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from entering. Insulate and seal pipes and attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, and electric and mechanical chases.
Ensure heaters are working properly – Have HVAC and heating systems inspected and cleaned annually. Install UL-approved gas or electric unit heaters in unheated sprinkler control valve/fire pump rooms.
Perform regular property maintenance – Care for trees and shrubs that are close to the business, as frozen branches can break and cause damage.
Empty it out – Drain, blow out or flush lines for seasonal or idle equipment.
Check exterior pipes – Outdoor pipes should be shut off and drained at the start of the winter. If the exterior faucets do not have a shut-off valve inside the building, have one installed by a plumber.
Clean the gutters – Remove leaves and debris that may impact melting ice or snow from flowing. Install gutter guards to prevent items from entering gutters and interfering with water flow.
Install early detection system - Install an automatic excess flow valve on the main incoming domestic water line to monitor and provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve. Excessive flow valves automatically shut and stop the flow of water when preset normal flow settings are exceeded.
Use wireless sensors and a monitoring system - Monitor leaks near water sources such as water tanks and commercial appliances. Install a heat detection system that provides notifications if the building’s temperature falls below a pre-determined number.
Back it up - Have emergency backup power lined up for your facility before you are faced with a weather hazard.
Check your coverage - Review your business insurance coverage.
Before the storm
Have equipment accessible – Position heaters, snow blowers, shovels and generators so they are easy to access.
Clear pathways – Keep driveways and walkways clear of snow and ice.
Secure outdoor heating and cooling units – Check HVAC, turbines and exhaust fans.
Monitor the roof – Keep an eye on snow loads. Consider hiring a contractor to remove snow from the roof if needed, to help prevent ice dams.
Keep hydrants clear – Remove snow three feet around fire hydrants and outside sprinkler control valves so they are accessible.
Relieve pipe pressure - For small commercial properties, let all faucets drip during extreme cold weather to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe, and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet.
Park your fleet in a garage - Take the keys with you to a secure location.
Prepare for power outages – Have flashlights and a gas or battery-powered generator ready to be used.
During the storm
Keep the heat at 55 degrees or higher – Close entries to unheated spaces to prevent frozen pipes.
Set faucets to a slow drip - Let water faucets drip slightly for interior pipes to keep water moving through pipes that are easily frozen.
Monitor the location – Use hired help or surveillance to respond quickly to burst pipes.
Turn off the water if pipes burst.
In case of a power outage – Bring electrical loads back online carefully to prevent power surges that could damage equipment.
After the storm
Check the roof – Consider hiring a contractor to remove snow from your roof to help prevent ice dams.
Clear out the snow – Remove snow from side walls and areas surrounding downspouts so that melting water has a path to flow away from the property.
If there is flooding:
Clean up pools of water.
Dry damp areas to prevent mold and mildew.
Move damp items outdoors when safe to prevent mold growth.
Move items away from damp areas.
Notify our claims team if there is damage.