Winterizing your plant makes a difference

Winterizing your plant makes a difference

by Katie Ladas October 26, 2023

Preparing your plant for the winter can save you time and money

Written by Barry Victor, PROS Parts Founder and President

Those of us who live in the northern latitudes anticipate the arrival of winter with a mix of both excitement for the numerous sporting activities we can do and a little bit of dread caused by memories of last year’s big storms that left our driveways covered in feet of snow or if we were less lucky, our cars in a ditch.

This month’s article is designed to get you thinking about your own preparation for winter for your plant and equipment. Hopefully this article will spark some conversations within your company. If you come up with any ideas we did not consider, please share them with us and we will include them in next month’s article.

A little upfront time and investment can save you a lot of time and investment in the long-run. 

If your plant is in an area of the country that often gets temperatures near or below freezing, you likely have a heating system. Most plants will have gas fired forced air systems or possibly electric or gas fired infrared heat tubes. Since these heating systems have not been used for many months, it is a good idea to have a qualified HVAC service company start them up and make sure they are operational and safe.

Check the insulation in your plant to help reduce the strain on the heating systems and save money in energy costs. Pay special attention to pipes that run near the outside walls of your building. These pipes will be the first to freeze if they are carrying water and are exposed to sub- freezing temperatures.

Check the exterior of your building and look for gaps that could allow cold drafts to enter the building. Exhaust vents from dryers and other equipment should be equipped with backflow dampers which would allow cold air to enter the plant and equipment. It won’t take long to freeze a steam coil in a dryer if the exhaust duct allows cold air to pour over the unheated coil.

If your plant is large enough to have an emergency power generator, make sure it is operational. If there is an electrical outage, even if you have natural gas or propane heating your plant, it won’t function without electricity to run controls and ignition systems.

Be sure your snow removal equipment is functional and mark the areas that need to be maintained with stakes or driveway markers. If you are lucky enough to have a service take care of snow removal, make sure you have a contract in place and it describes the conditions that you desire to have snow removed. Many of these services will allow you to set a minimum snowfall in inches that initiates them coming to your property to take care of the removal. Be sure they understand you want walkways cleared and free of ice.

If you live in an area that is prone to large amounts of snow, make sure you have a plan and educate your employees with regard to plant closures. Consider having a text message or email group that allows you to send out a message when the plant has been closed due to approaching severe weather.

Keep a small supply of emergency food and water in case employees are stranded at work by heavy snowfall.  

If your budget will allow, keep a number of spare parts on hand in the event the plant is subject to freezing temperatures. One of the items that are very susceptible to damage by freezing is a dryer steam coil. A short dip below freezing can cause the condensate inside to freeze and that will often cause the soft copper tubes to burst. One spare steam coil on hand for each dryer could turn a disaster into a mild inconvenience.

Start the conversations now with your plant maintenance people. A small amount of planning before winter can help you to weather the storm.

As always, PROS Parts is here to help you with your laundry and drycleaning equipment parts and supply needs.

About Barry Victor

Barry founded PROS Parts in the spring of 1988. Before starting PROS, Barry worked in the sales and engineering departments of Vic Manufacturing, one of the largest manufacturers of dry cleaning equipment in the U.S. At Vic, Barry launched a parts sales division that supported dry cleaning equipment imported from Italy and Germany. In its early years, PROS manufactured dry cleaning machinery and then evolved into an industrial and commercial laundry equipment and dry cleaning operations parts supplier. Barry lives in Eden Prairie, MN with his wife. He has two sons, a step son, a step daughter and his dog, Sora. 
Barry can be reached at 763-231-7379 or barryv@prosparts.com.
Social Shares