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Winterising Your Workplace: Some Do’s And Don’ts

Winterising Your Workplace: Some Do's And Don'ts

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With winter on the way, it is around this time of year when we all need to start thinking more carefully about whether our workplaces are set up for winter. It’s not just a matter of ensuring that colleagues and customers are happy: it’s also an important health and safety matter.

While you can’t control the conditions outside, you certainly do have a say over conditions inside. Here’s what you need to do to prepare your business from the coming cold weather and stormy conditions.

Do Make Sure That Your Building Is Ready

Winter can be tough on your building and the infrastructure it contains, so before winter arrives, make sure that you have a comprehensive maintenance plan in place. Do any essential plumbing and make sure that you get engineers to service your HVAC. Ensure that all systems are ready to operate, should the weather suddenly take a turn for the worse. Avoid allowing pipes to freeze in the cold weather at all costs, as this can cause tremendous damage. 

Don’t Neglect To Provide Heating

Some premises don’t have central heating systems. In the summer, this isn’t a problem. However, the moment temperatures start to fall, it can make things unpleasant for customers and colleagues. 

Ask yourself, do you need to hire a heater or boiler? Having a heating system on hand can help you make conditions more pleasant, particularly if you’re going to be outside. 

Do Promote Safe Driving

If your employees commute to work by car during the winter, they are at higher risk of an accident. According to data, around 116,000 people get injured every winter because of adverse weather conditions. 

As a business, therefore, you can promote safe driving. You can encourage employees to winterise their vehicles, and get them to take alternative means of getting to work. You can also provide them with education on avoiding drink driving over the holiday season. 

Do Reduce Slippery Surfaces

Around 40,000 people suffer injuries every year because of icy, slippery surfaces at work. It’s an incredibly common occurrence, but also something that you can easily avoid on your premises. If you think that there is a good chance of icy conditions, hire a company to grit all your car parks and drives. Also, if you operate a warehouse facility liable to ice buildup, distribute salt and grit indoors too. 

If there is any wet flooring, put up signs warning people that there is water on the floor. Place mats at building entrances to prevent people from dragging slippery moisture in on their shoes. Mop away any water building up in your interiors quickly before it becomes a slip hazard. 

Don’t Forget To Create A Safety Plan

Before winter arrives, it is a good idea to develop a safety plan. Having a proper plan in place can help protect you in the event of litigation or if the authorities decide to inspect. You can get plenty of help online creating a compelling safety plan if you haven’t done it before. 

Exterior design

Solar Water Heaters: Best Invention Ever Or Disaster Waiting To Happen?

Solar Water Heaters: Best Invention Ever Or Disaster Waiting To Happen?

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Solar water heaters have been around for a long time now. But, unfortunately, they haven’t taken off as many had hoped they would. We were all supposed to be getting our water heated by the sun by now, but that’s not how things panned out. 

Solar water heaters work differently from solar panels. In a solar panel, special materials convert energy from light into electrical charge which you can then use for appliances around your home. But in a solar water heater, the sun simply heats up water in specially-made tubes and then a pump distributes it throughout your home, including the bathroom. These devices, therefore, are considerably less high tech than you might imagine. 

With that said, they come with some benefits. For one, you don’t have to spend money on gas to power your boiler, which is already a massive bonus. Plus, they work automatically, providing hot water the moment the sun comes up into the sky. However, there are some downsides that make them a poor boiler replacement

Unsuitable For Areas That Get Freezing Temperatures

Because solar water heaters rely on water-containing tubes exposed to natural sunlight, they are unsuitable in areas where temperatures fall below zero, including at night. That’s because the water in the solar pipes freezes and expands, causing damage to the surrounding structures. 

The best location for solar water heaters, therefore, is in sunny areas that can experience the occasional cool day. 

High Cost

Indirect circulating systems get around this problem by using a two-stage transfer system. Instead of putting water in the solar heat collector, they use a non-freezing fluid alternative. A pump then circulates this to a heat exchanger within the home which then heats the water. It sounds a little round-about – and it is – but it eliminates the risk of freezing weather damaging your system.

The problem with these systems, of course, is the price. Because they have so many more parts, they can be much more expensive to install than direct circulation systems. And that can make them uneconomical compared to convention appliances.

Unsuitable For Some Roof Designs

Lack of suitability is another problem that homeowners can run into when trying to install solar heaters. In thermosiphon systems, for instance, warm water rises and cool water sinks in a heavy storage tank. The system is efficient and works reliably. Unfortunately, though, it isn’t suitable for all roofs because of the weight of the storage tank. Furthermore, it can be even more expensive than indirect circulating systems, even though heat transfer is passive. 

Scaling Can Become An Issue In Some Areas

Depending on where you live, scaling might also become an issue for you. In hardwater parts of the country, the mineral content of the water can be so high that it leads to deposits on solar heating systems that can eventually cause them to fail. 

The solution is to continually add softeners or mild acidic solutions to flush them out. Ideally, you’ll want to do this every three to five years for direct systems.