Prepping for Winter

This time of year, the weather changes quickly. Before many of us have had a chance to put away our pool toys, the leaves are changing color, and the air is crisp. Sooner than we know, snow will fall, and water will turn to ice.

If you have not already prepared your industrial farm for winter, now is the time to start. You’ll need as much time as possible to prepare your large building, equipment, plants, and livestock for the drop in temperature and wet weather. This guide addresses a number of important tasks that need to be on your to-do list, focusing on the most important - how to prepare a barn for winter.  Whether you care for animals, grow plants, or both, the continuity of your business operations depends upon a sturdy and reliable barn, especially during the winter season. As a bonus, we also provide a list of tasks to prepare your house for the winter. 

Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know when prepping your industrial farm for winter.

Prepare the Grounds

To prepare your farm for winter, there are many tasks to tend to throughout the property. Begin by walking through your farm to assess the state of the grounds. As you go through the property, consider these tasks: 

  1. Clear away debris, paying particular attention to any items that might get lost under a snowbank or blown away by the snow blower. 

  2. Break down dirt or mulch piles and adequately store the materials somewhere dry inside the barn. If left outside, these areas could become problematic and muddy as the snow melts in the spring. 

  3. Organize tools and equipment. Return any misplaced items to their storage location. If you do not have a designated storage area or place for a tool, consider creating one. Collect things that you no longer need. Donate, recycle, or properly dispose of items no longer in use. 

  4. Inspect the trees on your property. If any trunks or limbs are dying, remove them sooner rather than later. Dead limbs and tree trunks easily succumb to the weight of snow and can cause damage when they fall. 

  5. Inspect your rain gutters and drainage pipes. Clear away leaves and dirt that may have accumulated over recent months. 

Prepare the Inside of the Barn

The inside of the barn also needs to be prepared for the winter season. Make sure the following tasks are on your to-do list: 

  1. Check your ventilation system. Clean and dust the fans and conduct any necessary repairs. Tighten belts and wipe down the blades and louvers. 

  2. Check your heating system. Clear away any equipment that may have been placed in front of the heaters during the warmer seasons. Clean the heaters and do preventative maintenance work to ensure the barn stays warm all winter. 

  3. Check all of the hinges and moving parts. Clean away dust and dirt and apply the appropriate grease solution. 

  4. Test and service your generators to ensure they work properly. Restock fuel to ensure you have enough to power the electricity needs of your barn. 

  5. Inspect your equipment. Conduct any necessary repairs. Pay special attention to your snow blowers and other snow removal equipment. Make sure it is easily accessible and in proper working order. 

Inspect Skylight and Sidelight Panels

Does your barn have skylight or sidelight panels? If so, now is the time to ensure the glass is in good condition. Check for cracks, degradation in the seal around the edges of the windows, or any other signs of weakness. If you live in an area with high winds, hail, and heavy snow, make sure that the skylight and sidelight panels are constructed with sturdy material. In certain conditions, glass or fiberglass is insufficient. If you live in a place that experiences harsh winter weather, consider taking the time to upgrade your windows to polycarbonate panels. This material brings natural light into buildings while providing 100% protection against harmful UV rays. The material can withstand extreme temperatures, is hail and wind-resistant, and is 20 times stronger than fiberglass. 

Upgrade Older Wood-Lined Buildings

Many farms have beautiful walls and roofs made of wood. Wood construction materials offer many benefits, but longevity is not one of them. Wood is vulnerable to rot, deterioration, and pest infestation. If your building has a deteriorating wood-lined roof or walls, now is the best time to retrofit the building. If you try to wait it out another season, you may incur more costly damages. The good news is that Onduline TUFTEX® vinyl building panels are easy to install, easy to cut, corrosion resistant, non-flammable, have high-impact strength, and will not deteriorate. Line the interior walls and ceiling with vinyl panels to maintain the historic wood finish on the outside and reap the benefits of the new materials inside. The TUFTEX® vinyl building panels will also improve the safety and cleanliness of the barn for animals such as hogs, chickens, and cows. To learn more, view the information sheets for using TUFTEX® vinyl building panels in poultry, hog, and dairy industrial farm applications. 

Winter House Preparation Checklist

  1. Inspect your heating system. Clean away dust, replace filters, and ensure that everything is in working order. Consider having a reputable HVAC inspect your system. They can look for any maintenance issues and provide needed repairs before the temperatures drop too low. 

  2. Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These devices can save your life, so make sure they are working properly and have good batteries.  

  3. Now is the time to clear away all of the beautiful fall leaves from your gutters. If your gutters are filled with leaves and dirt, they can back up, overflow, and lead to a whole host of problems. 

  4. Prepare your chimney, wood stove, and fire pit for cold winter nights. Have a professional clean and inspect your fireplace. Order or cut firewood, and make sure you have a clean and dry place to store it. If you are handy, you may enjoy building a DIY firewood shed

  5. Check the trees around your house. Fall is not the ideal time to trim trees, but dead limbs or dying trees can be serious safety hazards when the snow starts to fall. 

For all of your agricultural and professional plastics needs, visit Onduline today.