Skip to main content

How to prepare your church building for winter

By December 4, 2018No Comments

Christmas and eggnog may be on your mind, but now’s the time to think about protecting your church against damage from snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Knowing what you’ll have to do prepare your church’s facilities and when to do it will mean you can avoid losses. At Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF), we help congregations plan and finance Holy Places, so we know our way around church buildings. Here’s our guide to maintaining your building for the season.


  • Leave it to the professionals. Your heating system should be inspected by a licensed contractor that has experience working with your kind of system.
  • Follow instructions. Check furnace filters monthly and replace them according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Stay back. Keep combustible material at least 36 inches from heating units, and never store gasoline or paint thinner in the same room.


  • Be in the know. Know where the main water shut off valve is. DCEF Tip #1: Easy does it. If a pipe leaks or bursts, an easily accessible valve will reduce damage.
  • Wrap it up. Wrap pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures and cold drafts, and those in unheated areas, with insulation.
  • Cover up. Cover open-air vents. Freezing temperatures and drafts can cause pipes to freeze.
  • Take it slow. When the temperatures drop, turn interior faucets to a slow drip. This will reduce the chance of pipes freezing.

Roof and Gutters

  • Keep your eyes peeled. Search the roof for cracking, blistering, cupping, peeling, or loss of granulation in asphalt shingles.
  • Pay attention. Examine drains and gutters to make sure that water can drain off the roof.
  • Check it out. Check downspouts for debris and ensure runoff is led away from the foundation.

Ice Dam Prevention

  • Bundle up. The attic should have sufficient insulation and ventilation. Rust or mildew could point to inadequate air flow. DCEF Tip #2: Let in some air. Install soffit vents to provide more ventilation.
  • Seal the hatches. Seal attic openings, like ducts, lights, and pipes.
  • Make space. Using a snow rake, clear snow 2 – 3 feet from roof edges. DCEF Tip #3: Be safe. Getting rid of snow and ice from roofs is dangerous, and can damage roofing components!

Bushes and Shrubs

  • Get (your plants) a haircut. Prune branches and limbs so that they can’t hit any walls.
  • DCEF Tip #4: Clean up. Remove anything under bushes and shrubs that’s appealing to rodents.

Parking Lots and Walkways

  • Fill ‘er up. Fill cracks and reseal the surface on your asphalt lot every 3 – 5 years.
  • More isn’t always better. Ice melt is designed so that you don’t need a lot of it. Packing it on corrodes concrete.

Need building help? Request a Building Evaluation! Our service assesses a congregation’s facilities and recommends a plan to address building condition, maintenance issues, and requirements. Email [email protected] or visit