Winter Management of Barns and Buildings On the Farm
You turn on the weather report and you hear the dreaded four letter word . . . . .snow. A storm is headed to your area and it is expected to bring major accumulation of ice and snow. Will your barns and farm buildings be able to withstand the high winds and heavy weight of the snow and ice? Or if an emergency strikes? Will the emergency vehicles be able to access the property?
There are steps that can be taken to ensure the barns and farm buildings will be safe during these winter storms.
Before winter's arrival, check to be sure that the roof and buildings are built according to building code and are structurally sound, with the shingles in tact. The last thing you would want in the middle of the storm is to see the roof or building collapse with your animals inside, or the shingles to fly off in the wind endangering animals and humans. Installing snow slides will help remove the snow, which will prevent the snow from building up on the roof.
Any building that houses horses or livestock require some sort of airflow to circulate the air year round, making sure to prevent drafts. This removes excess moisture from the barn and keeps the interior free of gasses, such as ammonia.
Make sure the gutters are cleared of any debris. This will prevent ice buildup, which will lead to ice dams and eventually damage the roof.
There have been incidences during past winters where so much snow accumulated, the the roofs of barns and buildings collapsed under the weight. Be sure to have an evacuation plan in place in the event that this does happen. This usually is not a problem, since the snow begins to melt once the sun comes out and the temperatures rise above freezing. Structurally sound barns and buildings can usually withstand the heavy snowfall. The only exception may be if several feet of snow has fallen.
If there is a concern that there may be a risk of the roof collapsing, hire a professional ro remove the snow from it. If you see changes in the roof or hear creaking and cracking noises, it might indicate that the roof is under extreme stress.
During the winter, always keep the driveways, paths and walkways clear of snow and ice to prevent any injury to horses and humans, or in the event that the emergency vehicles need to access the property.
Buildings that are most likely at the greatest risk of collapsing are the ones with large span s between the supports. Indoor arenas are a good example of this.
One last thing is to be sure the all water sources are not frozen. This should be available throughout the winter in case of an emergency such as a barn fire.
Taking these steps will help ensure that animals and humans stay safe during the winter, although it may not entirely prevent disasters from occurring.
Brigita McKelvie is a REALTOR® (Pennsylvania License #RS297130) with Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, specializing in rural and horse properties and farms in Eastern Pennsylvania. She has an e-Pro® (Certified Internet Expert) certification and a GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute) designation.
Brigita McKelvie, REALTOR
Pennsylvania License #RS297130
Rural and Horse Properties and Farms
Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, Ltd.
The Premier Equine and Country Real Estate firm serving Eastern Pennsylvania from back yard operations to world class equestrian facilities.
Use a REALTOR with "horse sense" that doesn't horse around when it comes to horse properties.