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How to make sure your roof survives the winter

Posted by Kate Donnelly | Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How to make sure your roof survives the winter During the winter, your buildings can take a beating, and most of it is directed at the roof. Piles of snow can add unneeded stress, ice dams might clog and crack gutter systems and blowing winds may damage ventilation units. Before winter hits, use your computerized maintenance management system to keep track preventative maintenance and don't accidentally skip any important steps.

Preventative maintenance

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the first step to preparing your building's roof for winter is to determine its structural integrity. You should know how old your building is, how long it's been since any maintenance was performed and whether or not there's a risk of damage. Using a CMMS makes this processes a snap because all of this pertinent information is at your fingertips. If you're lacking any of this information, FEMA suggested hiring a contractor to assess your roof.

The next step is to check your gutter and drainage system. If there are trees near your facility, it's possible that the system has become clogged with dead leaves. Clearing the pipes of detritus will prevent ice from jamming the system up. This is also a great time to check the roof for leaks or cracks. If water gets into the cracks, it will freeze, expand and make the problem worse, so it's better to fix them before the temperatures drop below freezing.

Inside out

It's also a good idea to check out your roof from the inside. The City of Boston, which received a record 108.6 inches of snow last season, according to USA Today, recommends checking the interior of a building for stains or moisture. These could be early signs of leaks. If you spot any, it's best to get them checked out by a professional as soon as possible.

If there's an unheated space between the roof of the building and the working area, it could be susceptible to moisture problems. Cornell University reported that air from the heated portion of the building could leak into the unheated portion and cause damage to sealed areas, allowing cold air inside. Poor insulation will have a similar effect, making the working areas of your facility colder and raising your utility bills as your heater needs to work harder. Plan accordingly and protect your roof from the ravages of winter.