With cold creeping in and weather worsening, it’s time to prepare your business for the winter season. Whether you shut up shop or work continuously through the long dark months, there are certain steps you need to take to winterproof your machinery, and not just your outdoor equipment:
Winter prep mostly consists of preventative measures, which are always worthwhile for general safety, the life of your machines, and overall cost reduction. The potential for power loss, cold temperatures, and harsh weather conditions must be considered and addressed as soon as possible before winter. Scheduling maintenance and repair jobs in the warmer months is the best course of action.
However, it’s not just your machines you should be looking at. Be on the lookout for areas where frozen pipes and metal stress may become a problem in extreme overnight conditions. Severe changes in temperature will cause stress in your machines, especially in cold pipes that are used for hot oil flow. Make sure thorough start-up checks are in place for your machines to ensure they are safe before use.
Clean and Protect Machines
If your business closes during winter, you will still need to maintain the quality of your machines so that they work just as well when you return.
Have an early spring clean – get rid of any clogged-up dust, dirt and grease in pipes by using compressed air. Remove any attachments and store them separately to avoid any damage to joints. Make sure to drain the water from idle equipment and store any fluids at room temperature to avoid freezing.
Use surge protectors to protect your equipment from power outages. Surge protectors will absorb excess energy after a power cut when voltage increases during power restoration. This will prevent it from reaching and overloading your other equipment.
Sweep for Leaks
Your machinery should always be kept as dry as possible to avoid rust. Oxygen is no friend of metal, either in air or water. In winter, condensation and poor weather can damage your machines, so it’s important to inspect all seals in your walls, roofs, windows, and pipes for cracks and leaks.
As well as sealing any breaches, you can prevent additional precipitation with sloped roofing and ground barriers, and by providing shelter for entryways and vents. Use calking and weather stripping to seal areas of concern. Clear drains and gutters to prevent overflows and leaks.
Leaks can also impact the effectiveness of your heating. Energy expelled through cracks and leaks can be expensive in winter. Leaks in duct systems can waste large amounts of heat, and cracked pipes can burst, causing your business even more problems. Shut off water valves not in use to avoid freezing and bursting pipes.
To avoid further leaks, everything that can be insulated should be insulated: outdoor pipes (especially), cold water pipes and their fittings, cold air supply ducts, cold refrigerant lines, fittings, condensate pipes, etc.
Check Air Efficiency
Every building requires heat in winter to keep heating systems healthy and pipes from freezing, but additional heat also means additional condensation. Even if you’re not using your facility in the colder months, make sure you have good airflow and ventilation, and not just good heating. This will ensure stable temperatures and keep everything running smoothly.
To ensure good airflow you can:
- Make sure your premises has sufficient ventilation.
- Make sure your HVAC system is fully functional and has been recently serviced.
- Check your air filters for anything clogging the airflow.
- Keep vents and exhaust systems clear of ice and snow.
Where possible, all machinery should be stored indoors, or covered securely. Make sure you know what the proper fuel, oils and coolant levels are for your equipment to operate efficiently in colder weather.
If your machinery is still in operation, properly lubricate each compartment before the cold weather begins. Regularly check all hoses, tires and other rubber parts for cracks.
Emcon’s expert engineers provide maintenance and refurbishment services to ensure your machines are fully equipped for winter. Contact us on 0115 870 5071 or via our contact form to find out more.