It seems we take great care of making sure our pipes at home are protected but forget about the pipes at work. But that can be even more vulnerable during the cold.
They are often less cared for and may not have received the preparation they need to be safe throughout the winter months. Water pipes are more susceptible to freezing as water tends to settle in them rather than continuously moving through. This can especially be a cause for concern in colder climates like Milwaukee.
Protecting Your Business’s Pipes in Winter
A commercial building can get a broken or frozen pipe and we may not know about it for a few days.
Start With An Inspection
Make sure your pipes are ready for the colder weather with an inspection. The inspector will be able to tell if there are spots that can cause problems later on. When water freezes inside the pipes, it expands and can cause the pipe to burst.
This can lead to a flood, which may cause a lot of damage if there is no one around to shut the water off. This should include the roof, foundation, and any place on the building that the cold air can get in.
Add Extra Insulation
Adding a bit more insulation around the pipes can keep them from freezing. There may be some pipes in the building that are more exposed or not insulated enough.
These exposed pipes can be covered with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help them from freezing. It can also be placed in the walls, floor and ceiling where the pipes are located.
Seal Holes and Cracks
If there are cracks or gaps in the walls or floors around the pipes, use spray foam or caulk to fill in these spaces. Make sure you get the gaps or cracks filled from both sides.
These should be noticed during your inspection so make sure you get them all repaired. Even small gaps under doors, around windows, and ventilation should be checked.
These small spaces can let in a lot of cold air and you lose a lot of heat that way, as well. Filling up the gaps will save more money on your energy bill than keeping it on.
Keep The Heat On
Leaving the building warmer inside will help stave off the cold from the pipes, as well. Make sure this is common knowledge throughout the building if it is shared by several tenants in offices.
Run The Faucets
Keeping a small drip of water moving through the pipes can help them from freezing. Even if they do freeze, adding water to the frozen area will help break it down.
The constant water flow will help prevent the pressure from building up from ice blocks in the pipes.
Monitor Your Sprinkler System
There are monitor systems you can have installed that will react when the temperature drops too low or there is a problem with the sprinkler system. They can detect pipe failure and heat unheated sprinkler control rooms.
Have Backup Power
Having a generator in the building can help if there is a power outage. This can make sure there is still heat flowing until someone can get there. It can make a big difference during the really cold months.
Call A Professional
If you do have a pipe freeze, call your plumber right away. Frozen pipes can burst and that will cause a lot of damage, plus you may need to close your business for a few days.
If you have a burst pipe, shut off the main supply of water and call your plumber. Don’t try to thaw or fix them yourself.