5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for the Polar Coaster
By Pekin Insurance · Nov 1, 2019 ·3 min read
You know, it would be really great if the polar coaster was a new theme park ride. It would send you speeding through a winter wonderland filled with penguins, reindeer, and arctic foxes!
But the polar coaster isn’t that. It's a nasty weather phenomenon predicted by the Farmers’ Almanac. We’ll give you 3 ways to prepare your business before temperatures drop and snow piles up.
What Is a Polar Coaster?
The Farmers’ Almanac publication has lasted more than 100 years, and it features long-range weather predictions for the U.S. and Canada.
In its super-extended forecast, the 2020 Farmers’ Almanac calls for a polar coaster winter that could bring:
- Heavy snowfall
- Rain, sleet, and ice
- Bitter cold
- Severe temperature swings
The polar coaster is like an unwanted sequel to the polar vortex from 2018 and early 2019. The polar vortex brought punishing precipitation, frigid temperatures of -40˚F, and wind chills of -75˚F.
Not everyone agrees with the Almanac’s predictions. The skeptics in the crowd (meteorologists) say it’s nearly impossible to forecast that far into the future.
Only time will tell. You’ll be well-prepared when you stick to these polar coaster prep tips.
5 Polar Coaster Prep Tips
1. Save Power, Save Profits
Paying too much for power eats your profits, especially when frigid and frosty conditions show up. Follow these steps to make that energy bill hurt a little less.
Set a Sensible Temperature
You probably have an employee who says it’s too hot in the building. There's another employee who says it’s too cold in the building.
You can’t make everyone happy, so set the temperature based on cost rather than comfort (within reason, of course). If your office is set to an average of 68˚F, turn the thermostat down a few degrees to 65˚F. Over time, the savings will add up.
Set the thermostat for 60˚F after you close, but don't go too low. A colder-than-normal temperature will cost you when you heat up the building for the next business day.
Install a Smart Thermostat
While you’re thinking about climate control, consider installing a smart thermostat. It’ll let you control the temperature from your phone. Plus, you'll receive alerts when the temperature gets too high or low.
Look for a smart thermostat that includes energy usage reports that help you lower your power bill.
Solar Panels Work in the Winter
What’s the financial philosophy behind paying for solar panels? You invest now to free up huge chunks of change later.
According to EnergySage, commercial property owners save up to 83% on their electricity bill after going solar.
You might think, “That’s great, but do these panels even work in the winter?” Yes, they do!
EnergySage drops some more wisdom on the subject. They say solar panels stay strong through the cold months as long as they’re cleared of snow.
2. Take Care of Pipes Before They Burst
A burst pipe could shut down your business down for a few days.
Without factoring in potential inventory damage, you’ll pay:
- Between $1,078 and $4,093 to repair water damage.
- Between $351 and $1,765 to install or replace new pipes.
Disaster Safety recommends the following steps to prevent frozen pipes:
- Use caulk or insulation to seal all openings on exterior walls.
- Insulate every opening that feeds into the attic.
- Keep faucets set to a drip during extreme cold.
- Set up notifications for your building’s temperature dropping below a certain level.
- Insulate the pipes that are most likely to freeze.
- Use wireless sensors to monitor the main water line.
- Check your sprinkler system for failing pipes.
- Install a back-up power source to make sure heat stays on through a power outage.
Work with local HVAC professionals, plumbers, electricians, and other contractors as you move forward with these steps.
3. Clear Sidewalks and Parking Lots, React to Falls
Get Rid of the Snow and Slickness
You’ll save time and soreness by hiring someone to handle plowing, shoveling, and snow-blowing.
You need the right plan if you plow your own lot, though. A personal auto policy will not cover your vehicle if it’s used as a snowplow for your business.
Talk to your local Pekin Insurance agent about a commercial auto policy with proper liability limits. You’ll need coverage amounts for possible accidents involving your truck, your property, and the property of employees and customers.
If your employees do the work described above, protect them and your business with Workers Compensation coverage.
Workers Compensation could help pay your employees’ medical bills if an accident happens. It could also reduce the chance of them filing lawsuits against you.
Prepare for Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls happen, even when you do your best to prevent them. Put a process in place now if you don’t have one.
Do these things before an accident happens:
- Figure out who will investigate slips, trips, and falls on the property.
- Determine what information to collect.
- Create investigation and interview forms.
- Document investigation procedures.
Immediately after the accident happens:
- Get first aid or medical treatment for the injured person.
- Keep other people away from the scene.
- Interview the injured person and witnesses.
- Document the scene with photos or videos.
When the commotion dies down:
- Find the cause of the accident.
- Eliminate hazards that led to the slip, trip, or fall.
- File a Workers Compensation claim as soon as possible if an employee is injured.
4. Order a Roof Inspection
Snow and ice could lead to a roof collapse. A full roof replacement could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $12,000 (or more).
This isn’t a simple matter of profits, either. Falling ice and snow could hurt your employees and customers.
Prices for a roof inspection start out at $200 to $400, but that figure varies based on the style and size of the roof.
5. Know When to Close for the Entire Day
This one’s a tough decision, but you can’t put a price on the safety of your employees and customers.
Would you want anyone out and about when blizzards and sub-zero temperatures strike?
Think about closing your business for the day if the weather would make a polar bear run away.
Step in, take off your boots, and warm up a little. Do you feel better knowing you’re prepared for the polar coaster?
While we’re chatting, we have to mention our business insurance. It offers financial protection for your facilities, customers, and employees.