As the weather starts to get colder for most of the country, many people are moving their sports activities to indoor locations. As a result, schools, parks, and outdoor recreational facilities may sometimes neglect their outdoor sports equipment during the winter season. This neglect can cause premature damage to your equipment, which may require replacement parts, additional time-consuming maintenance, or even brand-new equipment. You can prevent these costly replacements and alleviate the extra stress on facility personnel by ensuring that your facility’s outdoor equipment is prepared for winter’s extreme temperatures and excessive precipitation. Check out these tips to help keep your equipment lasting longer and looking new for years to come.
Prior to the start of winter, it’s important to inspect all of your sports equipment to assess its condition. Look for cracks or rusting in steel or aluminum equipment, splinters in wood products, chips or breaks in glass, and tears or rips in padding or other foam products. Also check all hardware for proper tightness and evidence of rust. Promptly repair any problems or replace the equipment to prevent the damage from getting worse during the harsh weather elements of winter. In addition, we suggest lubricating all moving parts such as pulleys, actuators, crank handles, and wheels with grease or oil to prevent rust caused by excessive snow, sleet, or ice. For additional things to look for, visit www.garedsports.com to download our PlayRx™ Equipment Evaluation Form – an easy checklist to evaluate the condition of your sports equipment in the winter and all year round.
If your outdoor equipment is portable, on wheels, or installed in ground sleeves, one of the easiest ways to keep it from getting damaged during the winter months is to move it into an indoor storage area. If your equipment is installed in concrete or not easily transportable, consider covering it with a large tarp or heavy-duty plastic and secure with zip ties, straps, ropes, or bungee cords to protect it from cold temperatures and precipitation.
Temporarily removing pads and accessories from your outdoor sports systems is a simple way to keep them from getting damaged during the cold season. Some of the most common removable types of accessories include nylon or poly netting (found on basketball rims, soccer or lacrosse goals, tennis and volleyball systems, and outdoor batting cages), net clips and hooks, removable basketball rims, pole pads, backboard padding, crank handles, flags, cones, tetherballs and ropes, and volleyball boundary markers. These accessories are typically easy to remove and can be reinstalled quickly when spring arrives.
Finally, be mindful of changing weather patterns when getting ready to purchase new outdoor equipment. Whenever possible, purchase steel products that have been galvanized at the factory. Steel that has been through the galvanization process has increased durability and protection to withstand cold temperatures and moisture. In addition, make sure the manufacturer uses zinc-plated hardware on its outdoor sports products. Hardware that is zinc-plated is stronger and offers more protection against rust and corrosion. Finally, you may want to consider having a powdercoat finish added at the factory when you order your equipment. Powdercoating can be added to steel basketball posts, football goalposts, soccer goals, bleachers, bike racks, and even playground equipment. Powdercoat finishes provide even further protection again weather elements and extreme temperatures and are typically available in a variety of colors to match your park, playground, or school colors.