Your Business after the Wildfires

Many business owners are wondering what they should be doing to get their business up and running after the wildfires in Napa County. What do you do now that the power or gas has been restored to your business?  Below is checklist of what needs to be done.  


1.  If your electricity was turned off, check all your timer controlled devices, verify they are set for the correct date and time:

  • Programmed thermostats
  • HVAC management systems
  • Refrigeration control panels
  • Fire and burglar alarm systems
  • Landscaping controls
  • Indoor or outdoor lighting systems and control panels

2.  You may have to check day and time settings on your computers, printers, handheld devices, and data backup sources. Some older units do not automatically reset themselves.

3. Some other less common things to check are:

  • Refrigerator/freezer temperature control settings
  • Water recirculation pumps and timers
  • Well pumps and tank controls
  • Sump pump controls
  • Solar panel invertor settings
  • Don’t forget the settings for wine caves or wine storage facilities; many have night time cooling control settings that could be out of adjustment.

4.  Once appliances are running, listen to them for any unusual noises or to see if they running too long. If you had your gas turned off during this emergency, please contact PG&E and they will come out to inspect and restart your gas appliances. After all fires are extinguished and the smoke has cleared, commercial and winery property owners will want to reach out to their Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioner (HVAC) maintenance companies to have them come out to perform the following:

  • Replace air conditioning filters in all units, including restaurants, tasting rooms, offices, production, and storage areas. If you are not familiar with where your air filters are located have your maintenance company show you or provide you with a diagram. Also have them provide you a list of filter locations, types, and sizes.
  • Have the HVAC maintenance company clean your exterior condenser coils, as these will have collected ash and dust, and can substantially reduce the efficiency and lifespan of your equipment. Coils can be located on Rooftop Package Units (RTU’s), remote refrigeration condensers, heat pump condensers, and cooling towers. If you have rooftop swamp coolers you may need to have the screen membranes cleaned or replaced. Also have them check economizers, which regulate the outside air flow into the building. All commercial buildings are required to have a certain percentage of outside air coming into the building while it is occupied. Economizers can get stuck open or closed with the ash and dust in the air.

Smoke can permeate throughout a building and can get absorbed by many different types of materials, some easy for employees to clean, others will need professional cleaning. Some items that will absorb smoke smells:

  • Carpeting
  • Upholstered items - chairs, sofas, leather products, and drapery
  • Table clothes and fabric coverings
  • Uniforms and clothing 
  • Unsealed wood tables, chairs, and flooring
  • Plants

You do not want to sweep up ash as it will become airborne again. Wash it down or vacuum it up if you have a vacuum equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter (HEPA). You will need to change the filter regularly.

Wash down outside patios and furniture as well as plants outside. Ash can build up on leaves and on lawns. You will want to clean off solar panels as ash and dust will substantially affect solar performance. 

For more information, visit PG&E's website and click on Wildfire Safety on the right-hand side where you will see the links for electric and gas restoration.

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