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Eight Facility Winterization Tips for Your Ministry

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

It’s almost time for a steamy mug of hot cocoa to replace the ice cold cup of sweet tea. Make your ministry’s facilities as cozy and comfortable as your home. Knowing what to do, when you do it, and how to get it done can give you peace of mind, especially during an extended period of vacancy.

Plan Ahead Schedule time for your facilities management team to develop and implement a plan to winterize your buildings. Be sure you include a detailed plan for snow and ice removal. Keep the contact information for local snow removal contractors handy for large accumulations and parking lot care. Keep shovels, ice melting products, and gloves ready for your employees or volunteers. Planning is the first step to keeping the heat in and the cold out.


Clean and Service Your Furnace

Contact an HVAC professional to have your system serviced before the winter comes. Replace air filters as recommended by the label or heating professionals. You may notice an odor during the first couple of days of furnace use; that’s normal. If the smell lasts for an extended time contact a professional to look at your heating system. Also, cleaning air-ducts can help keep potentially flammable debris out of harm’s way. 

Insulate. Insulate. Insulate. Keeping the heat in is the goal. Insulate your facility as best as you can to help you achieve that goal. Keep all insulation at least 3 inches away from light fixtures. A licensed contractor could help you understand and discover which areas of your facility could use some extra attention. Also, wrapping an exposed pipe in insulation will help prevent your pipes from bursting and causing costly repairs. 

Seal Windows and Doors Air leaks and drafts from windows and doors are another common source of warm air escaping your facility. Properly securing and sealing all exterior windows and doors will also help reduce your utility bills. Take notes and schedule maintenance on any seal that may need extra attention. 

Check Your Emergency Alert Resources Staying alert will help you stay protected. Be sure you have the adequate number of detectors to cover your facility. Also, schedule monthly detector checks and replace them every 10 years. Contact your local fire department for help with this subject. 


Help Prevent Exterior Leaks Taking care of your exterior can help insulate your interior. Snow, sleet, ice and heavy rains can cause gutters and downspouts to leak or break. Clean your gutters of debris and properly secure any loose sections. Keeping melting snow or ice away from your building can help prevent cracks in seals or foundation. Also, turn off any exterior faucets and disconnect hoses to help prevent frozen water expanding and causing damage. 

Check Your Roof for Damage Don’t forget about your roof when you check your gutters. If there are any visible areas in need of repair, schedule a licensed contractor to perform repairs before the winter. A compromised roof can cause water damage and reduces the energy efficiency of your building. Heat rises and holes in a roof will cause your HVAC system to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature within the building. 

Prepare Your Landscaping Trimming your bushes and shrubs will help your beautiful landscaping endure the cold of winter. Also, collect and dispose all fallen leaves and limbs to prevent water or ice accumulation. Examine your walkways and parking lot for holes and cracks that should be filled. Following product instructions for ice melting solutions will help extend the life of your walking surfaces. 

When you are covered by UMIP, we will be there when you need us. Churches have unique needs. As a part of the denomination, we understand the unique needs of United Methodist churches and their operations, which is reflected in our coverage options. Your ministry deserves outstanding insurance and UMIP works for you each day to help protect your church’s people, property, and finances.

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This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

The commercial insurance coverages for United Methodist Insurance are sold and serviced directly or indirectly by Sovereign Insurance Agency (CA Lic. No. 0B01380) ("Sovereign") and underwritten by various available insurance markets. Sovereign pays United Methodist Insurance a royalty for the use of its intellectual property.


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