Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winterizing Your Outdoor Sports Equipment

Proper maintenance of your outdoor sports equipment shouldn’t happen only in the spring and summer months. Ensuring that your facility’s outdoor equipment is prepared for winter’s extreme temperatures and excessive precipitation is sure to save time, money and hassle for your facility! Check out these helpful tips from GARED to keep your sports equipment lasting longer and looking new for years to come!

Prior to the start of winter, it is 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 GARED’s website at to download our PlayRx™ Equipment Evaluation Form – an easy checklist to evaluate the condition of all of your sports equipment in the winter and all year round!

If your outdoor equipment is portable or on wheels, 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 padding and accessories from your outdoor sports systems is a simple way to keep it from getting damaged during winter. 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 re-installed quickly when spring arrives. If your accessories do get damaged, rotted, or ripped during the winter months, call GARED for inexpensive replacement accessories, most of which can be shipped in 24 hours! We offer a comprehensive selection of outdoor accessories for just about any outdoor sport!

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. GARED uses only hardware that is zinc-plated because it is stronger and more protected against rust and corrosion. Finally, consider adding a powder-coat finish to your outdoor system for even further protection again weather elements and extreme temperatures. GARED offers optional powder-coating in a wide variety of attractive colors to match your park, playground, or school colors.

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