GUIDE: Getting Your Facility Ready for Winter
Don't leave your facility out in the cold. Use this guide to make sure you're ready for the worst that winter has to offer.
Winter is coming, and it's heading straight for your facility. Now is the time to get out in front of it and prepare for the worst winter has to offer.
From saving energy to emergency planning, our checklist provides timely tips for:
- Heating systems u2014 optimize system performance with these measures.
- Boiler maintenance and operations u2014 address their unique performance needs.
- Around your facility u2014 don't make your heating system work harder than it needs to.
- Weathering winter storms u2014 plan ahead to keep your employees safe and your facility running.
These actions can form the basis of a sound program for energy management that can reduce your operating costs this winter and all year long.
If you use packaged rooftop units, a heat pump or a conventional heating system, these measures will help optimize system performance:
- Hire a qualified professional to inspect and clean your heating system. An inspection will help spot any problems and ensure that your system is running efficiently.
- Change filters throughout your facility at the start of the heating season and regularly thereafter. Dirty filters make your heating system work harder, wasting energy and reducing indoor air quality.
- Seal accessible ductwork with mastic tape. Leaky ducts can have a serious impact on heating system efficiency, costing your facility energy dollars.
- Insulate accessible ductwork. Heat radiating through ductwork in unconditioned spaces is energy lost.
Boiler maintenance and operations
If your facility uses boilers for space heating, you must address their unique operational requirements:
- Inspect boiler insulation and repair any damaged or missing insulation. Insulation improves boiler efficiency.
- Monitor the flue gas and adjust excess air to optimum levels. High excess air levels can waste heat and reduce boiler efficiency.
- Check steam traps for leaks. Leaky steam traps increase fuel consumption and waste energy.
- Make sure carbon monoxide levels are within acceptable limits. High carbon monoxide levels (50 parts per million or higher) are a sign that combustion is incomplete and energy is being wasted.
- Check boiler tubes for scale buildup and clean if necessary. Scale buildup inhibits heat transfer, forcing the boiler to burn additional fuel.
- Implement boiler reset controls. They save energy by matching the supply of steam or hot water with the demand for heat.
Around your facility
Take these actions to ensure that your heating system isn't running more than necessary:
- Implement energy management system controls. Controls can reduce heating costs by automatically adjusting building temperatures based on your operating schedule.
- Make sure air vents are unobstructed by furniture or equipment. This will help to ensure proper air distribution, saving energy and improving comfort.
- Inspect windows and doors for leaks and defective gaskets. Air leaks allow conditioned air to escape from your building.
- Ensure that building insulation meets recommended levels. Insulation helps keep occupants comfortable while reducing heating system use. Make sure insulation levels meet or exceed those recommended in the ASHRAE 90.1 standard for building energy efficiency.
Weathering winter storms
Winter storms can damage your facility and endanger staff. Make sure you're prepared. Review and update your emergency plan, including evacuation routes and facility closing procedures. Prepare an emergency kit and designate safe areas for employees during a storm.
Make sure that you have a backup power source available and in working condition. With a little preparation, you can keep your operations going during winter weather while keeping everyone safe.