Frozen water exerts thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch on a pipe and can burst it, causing flooding and major damage to your business. Extensive water damage can also occur as a result of frozen pipes in sprinkler systems during extended power outages in freezing weather. Is your business prepared for winter weather?
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers the following tips for reducing the risk of pipes freezing:
- Provide a reliable back-up power source, such as a stand by generator, to ensure continuous power to the building.
- Install a monitoring system with notifications if the building’s temperature dips below a pre-determined number. Never set your thermostat below 55 degrees.
- Insulate recessed light fixtures in the ceiling to reduce heat entering the attic. Look for visible light inside the attic. If present, insulate or seal. If the space above a suspended ceiling is conditioned, there is no need for added insulation or sealing.
- Insulate and properly seal attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, electric and mechanical chases, and access doors, and all doors and windows.
- Seal all wall cracks and penetrations including domestic and fire protection lines, electrical conduit and other utility service lines.
- Sprinkler systems should be consistently monitored by a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure.
- Install insulation and/or heat trace tape connected to a reliable power source on parts of wet sprinkler system piping. This includes main lines coming up from underground passing through a wall as well as sprinkler branch lines.
- UL-approved gas or electric unit heaters can be installed in unheated sprinkler control valve/fire pump rooms. If back up power is provided, the heaters should also be connected to this power source.
- A monitored automatic excess flow switch can be placed on the main incoming domestic water line to provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve when the business is closed.
Implementing these tips can greatly reduce a building’s potential structural loss and loss of business operations due to large snow falls, freezing temperatures and power outages during these times.
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