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Home > Lowe's for Pros > Prepare Your Facility for Summer

Prepare Your Facility for Summer

Man on Roof Checking Shingles

Summer can signal the start of a severe climate change for facilities managers. When summer rolls around Stacy Colvin, a member of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), prepares his buildings for what he calls, "extreme weather season."

How can facilities managers make sure their buildings don't succumb to summer's strenuous weather spell? A lot of foresight and solid maintenance practices help the cause, says Kelvin King, director of market development for Centennial Contractors.

"The number one thing to remember is pre-planning," King says. "Once you have an idea what the improvement plans and maintenance schedules are, make sure there are public contractors available to meet whatever your scheduled planned demand might be."

Exterior check list

Much of that demand starts with the exterior of a building. Colvin, along with Kevin Nordmeyer, director of the Iowa Energy Center, suggests that facilities managers start their maintenance routine on the outside of a building and work their way in. Some key areas of interest include:

  • A storm water management plan:Summer rains can translate into summer floods if a building's storm water management plan is not up to par. "Look at where the water is collected on site or see if the grating has settled sot that water is now running toward the building," Nordmeyer says. The most important point to remember is to, "make sure water does not collect against it."
  • Green scenes:As part of a long-term investment, Nordmeyer recommends that facilities managers plant trees on the perimeter of a property, or, in the case of commercial buildings, in the parking lot. "Shade the building if you can too, so the insulation doesn't have to work as hard," he says. Trees not only improve the aesthetic of a property but they also reduce energy costs.
  • Through the cracks: Both Colvin and Nordmeyer recommend checking around the outside of the building for places where the caulking has been compromised. Caulk around all windows and door jambs, Colvin says. Pay extra attention to insulation in areas that may have experienced water damage due to sealant issues. "If insulation in a wall cavity is wet, it's useless - they will need to replace it," Nordmeyer says.
  • From the rooftop:Roof inspections are key in prepping a facility for summer. Colvin recommends inspecting edges where high winds could kick up parts of the roof. Check your insulation on the outside and make sure all duct work is secure. Make sure shingles are checked and there are no cracks near the chimney, which can lead to indoor leakage, Nordmeyer adds.

Cooling off

Be sure to transition roof inspections into an overall inspection of your building's HVAC system, Colvin recommends. "Make sure your system checks out with clean coils - check your Freon and make sure the fans are free of trash and oiled where needed," he says.

King says that in addition to making sure the coolers are functioning and filters are free of debris, managers need to make sure their units are moving the proper amount of air through the building.

"If your unit isn't moving the proper amount of air through the ducts, it may increase an environment for mold," he says.

Nordmeyer says that maintaining a properly working HVAC system is crucial, even during the summer months. In addition to making sure the filters and dampers are in top shape, managers of existing buildings should consider checking their systems to see if it may be time to replace it.

"If an AC is 10 years old or more, it's safe to assume there will be some sort of payback for a higher efficiency model," he says.

Conserve and protect

Consider the overall green health of your facility by looking at reducing energy costs. Replace heavy glass windows with more energy efficient ones. "Ask yourself: How can I utilize windows to allow daylight to come in so I can't turn on the lights?" Nordmeyer says. The same goes for replacing existing light bulbs with more energy efficient ones.

Facilities managers can also look at ways at conserving water on their properties as droughts and heat waves may strike. Colvin suggests setting sprinkler systems to only water the lawn at night, when necessary. Additionally, he recommends facilities managers implement a mosquito control process in low areas, especially after rainstorms.

Such precautions help protect a building and its surrounding property against tumultuous summer weather patterns.

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