Prepare Your Property for Winter: A Comprehensive Guide

As we officially settle into fall it’s time to think about the ways you can prepare your property for winter, because it will be here before you know it. Property owners in the Northern Hemisphere face unique challenges, such as the changing weather patterns, which demand proactive measures to safeguard their property from potential damage. At Premier Claims, we understand the importance of preparation. We’ve combined our experiences with essential insights to create a comprehensive guide tailored for business owners. Ensuring your property’s safety and resilience during winter is not just a necessity; it’s a strategic investment.

Winter Essentials for Commercial Properties

Protect Your Pipes from Freezing

Frozen pipes can lead to costly damage. Maintain a consistent indoor temperature above 55 degrees, even when the building is unoccupied. To ensure that unwanted cold air stays out of your property, regularly inspect your building for cracks or holes in seals. Swift repairs can prevent pipe bursts and potential water damage.

Roof and Gutter Maintenance

Inspect your business roof and gutters for any signs of wear and tear. Clean out leaves and debris from gutters to prevent water buildup, which can lead to roof damage and leaks. Ensure that your roof is free of loose shingles or tiles, as they can be easily dislodged during storms.

HVAC System Checks

As the temperatures drop, your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system will be working overtime. Schedule a professional inspection to ensure it’s in optimal condition. Clean or replace filters and clear vents to maintain efficient airflow, reducing the risk of system failures.

Landscaping and Outdoor Features

Trim tree branches and remove dead vegetation around your property. Fall is a good time for pruning, ensuring that heavy branches won’t fall and cause damage during winter storms. Secure outdoor fixtures, signage, and furniture to prevent them from being damaged or becoming hazards in strong winds and snow storms.

Emergency Preparedness

Review and update your emergency preparedness plan. Ensure all employees are aware of evacuation procedures, emergency contacts, and the location of emergency supplies. Regular drills can reinforce safety protocols, ensuring everyone knows what to do in case of severe weather events.

Policy Review

Before winter sets in, it’s crucial to review your property insurance policy. We recommend having your policy reviewed by a professional to confirm your policy adequately protects against winter-related risks like burst pipes or roof collapses due to heavy snow. Proactive coverage provides financial stability, saving you from potential setbacks in the event of property damage. We have a team of seasoned professionals ready to review your policy. Don’t wait, act now to secure your business’s winter readiness.

At Premier Claims, we understand the unique challenges faced by business owners with properties in colder climates. By taking proactive steps to prepare your property for winter, you can enjoy peace of mind throughout the fall and holiday seasons. Stay prepared, protected, and let Premier Claims be your ally in safeguarding your investments.


The Impact of Hail: Understanding Size, Formation, and Damage

Hail, a type of solid precipitation that forms within thunderstorm updrafts, has fascinated and intimidated humans for centuries. Frequently causing damage to homes, cars, and aircraft, and posing a significant threat to people and livestock, these formidable ice orbs are a spectacle of nature’s power.

From Raindrop to Hailstone: How Hail Forms

Hailstones take birth when ordinary raindrops are lifted by thunderstorm updrafts into the frosty regions of the atmosphere. Here, they freeze and start their journey of growth, colliding with other liquid water drops that freeze onto their surface. This growth process can result in hailstones having layers of clear and cloudy ice, depending on the conditions they encounter during their ascent.

Interestingly, these layers don’t form due to the hailstone going through up and down cycles within the thunderstorm, contrary to popular belief. Thunderstorm winds are not just vertical; they also have a horizontal component that can significantly influence the hailstone’s trajectory and growth.

Gravity’s Pull: How Hail Falls To The Ground

A hailstone’s descent is all about timing and balance. It falls when it becomes too heavy for the thunderstorm’s updraft to support or if the updraft weakens. Smaller hailstones, due to their lightweight, can be blown away from the updraft by horizontal winds. As such, larger hail tends to fall closer to the updraft than smaller hail.

The speed of falling hailstones depends on a plethora of factors: their size, the friction they encounter with the surrounding air, local wind conditions, and even the degree of their melting. The expected fall speed ranges from 9 mph for small hailstones to over 100 mph for those with diameters exceeding 4 inches.

The Geography of Hail: Where it Strikes the Most

Despite Florida being the thunderstorm capital, it’s Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming that often bear the brunt of the most hailstorms. The convergence of these three states forms ‘hail alley,’ averaging seven to nine hail days per year. Other hail hotspots around the globe include China, Russia, India, and northern Italy.

Hailstorms create paths known as hail swaths as the storms move while the hail falls. These swaths can vary from a few acres to an area 10 miles wide and 100 miles long. Some storms churn out a mass of small hail instead of large hailstones, which can create hazardous conditions resembling icy winter roads when covering roadways completely.

Hail Size: From Peas to Grapefruits

According to NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, the largest hailstone recovered in the United States fell in Vivian, South Dakota, on June 23, 2010. It had a massive diameter of 8 inches, a circumference of 18.62 inches, and weighed almost 2 pounds. However, hail sizes vary significantly. They’re often compared to everyday objects for easier estimation:

In the end, it’s crucial to remember the damage potential of hail and take appropriate safety measures during hailstorms. From car windshields to rooftops, and from crop fields to livestock, hail can wreak considerable havoc. Stay informed and stay safe!


Water Damage: Categories & Classes

When dealing with water damage, it’s crucial to understand the severity and potential risks involved. Water loss is classified by contamination level. Its class denotes damage extent and evaporation rate. As your trusted public adjusters, we provide crucial information about water loss categories and classes, guiding you through challenges.

Water Loss Categories:

Category 1:

Category 1 water loss is considered the least severe, as it originates from a sanitary water source with minimal health risks if ingested or inhaled. Common examples include broken water supply lines, sink or tub overflows with no contaminants, melting ice, and broken toilet tanks.

Category 2:

Category 2 water loss involves water with contamination, posing a potential risk of illness upon contact or consumption. This type of water may harbor unsafe levels of microorganisms, nutrients, and organic or inorganic matter. For instance, overflows from washing machines, discharge from dishwashers, or toilet bowl overflows can fall into this category.

Category 3:

The most severe category, category 3 water loss, contains highly contaminated water with pathogenic, toxigenic, or harmful agents, such as sewage or floodwater from external sources. It can be caused by events like tropical storms or weather-related disasters.

Water Loss Classes:

Class 1:

As for Class 1 water losses, they impact a limited part of a room or area, or involve larger spaces with minimal moisture absorption. Moreover, this class presents the least amount of water, absorption, and evaporation.

Class 2:

Category 2 water loss, also known as gray water, involves water containing contamination, posing potential health risks. It may harbor unsafe levels of microorganisms, nutrients, and organic or inorganic matter. Examples of this type include overflows from washing machines, discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, and overflows from toilet bowls.

Class 3:

In a class 3 water loss, water may have come from overhead, resulting in saturated ceilings, walls, carpets, insulation, and sub-flooring throughout the entire area. Consequently, this class involves the greatest amount of water.

Class 4:

Class 4 water losses occur when materials with low permeance porosity, such as hardwood, plaster, brick, and concrete, are affected. These cases often have deep pockets of saturation, necessitating longer drying times and specialized methods.

Jimmy Marlow from Action News Jax reported in Jacksonville, Florida that “Regency Square Mall, once a bustling retail destination in the 90s and early 2000s, has now fallen into a state of disrepair. The mall’s roof has caved in, leading to extensive water damage and the spread of mold, raising concerns for both tenants and the local community.” Being proactive when it comes to water damage is imperative. Understanding the categories and classes of water loss is essential for assessing the severity of damage and implementing the appropriate recovery measures. As your premier public adjusting firm, we are here to support you through the challenges of water damage, providing expert guidance and compassionate assistance every step of the way. Together, we’ll navigate the complexities of water loss and ensure we restore your property to its fullest potential.