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What could a winter lockdown mean?

The second wave of the COVID-19 crisis will likely see business owners faced with the challenge of trying to navigate the restrictions alongside what is already a difficult time of year when it comes to keeping residents comfortable and healthy. But what specific heating issues should you prepare for, and when?

Ensuring commercial heating systems remain operational during lockdown is crucial to staff safety and business continuity, as recent guidance from the World Health Organisation states that commercial spaces need to be well ventilated with fresh outside air to reduce the risk of airborne virus transmission. However, low temperatures are also proven to reduce the body’s immunity response, which poses a conundrum for homes seeking to balance health and comfort.

With that in mind, now is the ideal time for organisations to check their heating systems are working as they are most used between October and February when temperatures drop, and when cold fresh air from ventilation systems or open windows needs to be ‘offset’ with reliable and consistent atmospheric temperature control indoors. 

The importance of maintaining heating systems 

If your HVAC system is not adequately maintained, it may be working inefficiently, will probably deliver inconsistent temperature and could prove faulty at the most inappropriate time when a cold-snap hits. Seasonal heating maintenance is essential to prolonging the life of your equipment, as it ensures all system components are checked, cleaned and maintained to prevent minor issues turning into major problems during the winter months. 

While many business owners avoid routine maintenance due to the perceived cost, regular maintenance can work to lower the long-term running costs behind your heating and ventilation systems and protect you against unsafe operation that could significantly impact business continuity. This is particularly important for organisations with compliance concerns. An effective maintenance check-up will also extend the lifespan of your equipment, increase cost effectiveness, and ensure your equipment is operating safely at all times. 

The benefits of ‘fully comprehensive’ cover

In addition to reviewing boilers, cylinders and tanks themselves, autumn can also be treated as an opportunity for you to take stock of your support personnel and ensure you have a trustworthy network of engineers who will be able to provide a quick response in case of an emergency – regardless of any increased demand that comes with colder weather – and who have the necessary protocols in place to comply with any revived working restrictions that may be put back in place. 

It also provides a window for you to look for new technologies available in the heating market that could reduce your reliance on physical engineer support. 

JLA boilers for example are all installed with smart remote monitoring and diagnostics as standard, with real time data flagging and can potentially fix minor issues before they impact a site’s heating or hot water supply. They also have remote control ‘weather detection’ technology which allows automated and manual system changes from a central hub that ensures optimum boiler efficiency at all times.

Some of the key things to check this autumn include: 

• Inspecting all thermostatic radiator valves to ensure they are all operational and confirming the make, model and number of all boilers onsite to get a view of the heating provisions. 

• Highlighting and planning for any discontinued or shortage of parts, and clarifying whether your organisation has an emergency back-up solution in the event of a system failure.

• Reviewing the performance of your boilers and pumps, and recommending upgrades to improve efficiency and lower operating costs. 

In the event that your commercial business does not have an adequate backup system, an accredited provider can help you formulate an emergency plan for the peace of mind of those who are concerned about business continuity during lockdown. Furthermore, if a business requires a new boiler but is unable to afford the outright cost, the best suppliers will offer rental subscription solutions to spread the cost and avoid the need for capital outlay.

Ultimately, in order to navigate the colder months, you should review, stabilise and upgrade your heating systems to prioritise staff safety, business continuity and energy efficiency.

4 November 2020

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