Maintenance Reliability Reliability & Maintenance Center

Winterize Your Plant

Jane Alexander | November 20, 2018

Is your plant ready for the challenges of winter weather?

A recent blog post from Eagle Technology, Mequon, WI (eaglecmms.com) offered several timely tips to help personnel get their operations through the season with as little damage or wear and tear as possible.

Inspect your heating system.

If the inspection is handled in-house, be sure to look for any worn or damaged parts, and clean out accumulated dust or dirt. If you use a furnace-maintenance service, schedule a thorough cleaning well before the weather changes.

Prepare outside machinery.

For machinery and vehicles that must function outside in the cold, consult O&M manuals regarding what should be done to winterize them. Fluids may need to be changed or topped off. Also, consider keeping fuel tanks at least half full during cold-weather use. Since some types of equipment may need to run for a certain amount of time to heat internal components before being placed under load, verify specific requirements. If more time will be needed for the machinery to be heated in the mornings, plan this time into your daily routine.

Look at building exteriors.

Are there trees with broken or cracked branches? Is the parking lot showing damage from summer rain that will be made worse by ice or snow expansion? Have tree branches grown over or under power lines, posing a risk to those lines? It can be very difficult to have tree work done in winter. Schedule it now so that you will have fewer things to worry about as cold weather hits.

Plan for weather emergencies.

Such emergencies depend, to some degree, on where facilities are located. Ice tends to be a bigger threat in the north, where there are many resources for handling snow. In the south, snow can quickly become overwhelming.

If your plant uses generators, test them to make sure they’re operational and ready to take over if necessary. Ensure that all emergency manuals or materials are readily available, even if the power’s out. This means keeping easy-to-access physical copies in multiple locations.

Consider at what point your operations will shut down due to weather, and what conditions you will plan to work through. Talk to personnel so that they’re aware and can also plan ahead. If your business has policies about missing work due to inclement weather, review them with employees.

Plan what to do during an actual storm.

Who keeps sidewalks and entryways clear and clean? If power goes out, how will you maintain the facility’s temperature above 40 F to protect sensitive equipment from damage? Again, considering these questions ahead of time means less confusion when you inevitably need the answers. EP

Eagle Technology, Mequon, WI, has been developing maintenance-management solutions for plants and facilities for more than 30 years. To learn more, visit eagletechnology.com or eaglecmms.com.

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Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander

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