Preparing for Winter

Fix those pipes, close the gaps...

For those of us in the northern hemisphere winter is approaching and with that comes ensuring our properties - workplaces and homes - remain comfortable, safe and efficient. How do we make sure we are adequately prepared for the cold weather which may follow?

Simple Workplace enhancements

It needn't be expensive nor difficult to get the little things right. Extra mats near entrances will ensure wet shoes can easily be wiped and that the office floors aren't soaking wet throughout the day. Each time a door opens it may bring in more cold from outside so if your property has multiple entrances it might be wise closing one or more entrance to improve the central heating.

Make sure your employees keep windows closed (and check they are properly closed) otherwise any extra heating you use will just go to waste. Before the coldest weather arrives is the best time to make sure everything is in order - clean (or replace) filters in furnaces and air conditioning units and then look out for gaps in the flooring or inadequately insulated pipes.

Preparing Offices for Winter - keep windows closed
Preparing Homes for Winter - check pipes and ensure insulation is plentiful

practical considerations

Starting with the roof it's important to replace any broken tiles or slates on a property and ensure insulation is in good condition and replaced where necessary. Adding cavity wall insulation to older buildings will really help when it comes to reducing heating costs and increasing room temperature. Your main possibilities when it comes to insulation materials will be fiberglass or cellulose while foam is a more expensive, but more efficient, option.

Double glazed windows can help to reduce heat escape by 50% though it can be expensive to retrofit so other possibilities include using polythene on window frames and strong blinds or curtains. Rugs or carpets on wooden floors can prevent draughts while carpeting throughout can do wonders to cold environments.

Preparing Offices for Winter - keep paths and car parks water-free and gritted


Ensure pathways are kept clean and dry as any water can quickly freeze and cause a hazard to workers and visitors. Drains can become blocked with leaves during autumn which could cause problems later on if they're not cleared. Gritting in car parks and footpaths will prevent falls though much of it may end up spread across the floors inside.

Preparing Properties for Winter - make sure pipes are insulated well

check your pipes

There's not much worse than a burst pipe so it's vital that pipes and water tanks are fully insulated. It will also help to prevent heat escape.

During holidays and weekends it's often advisable to leave the heating on at a moderate temperature to prevent freezing temperatures damaging pipes and other appliances.

Preparing an Office for Winter - use foam or caulk to seal gaps in floor tiles

watch the gap

Any little gap in flooring or between floors and skirting boards is asking for heat to escape (or insects to pay you a visit). Foam and caulk can help to seal those gaps while foam filler can be used for larger gaps. As winter progresses keep an eye on floors and doors to keep the heat in.