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How to Deal with Frozen Pipes in Your Building

Are you prepared to deal with frozen pipes in your building this winter?

Most buildings have preventative measures – such as insulation in exterior walls, attics, and crawl spaces – which do a good job of holding in the heat and protecting water pipes, but if you have extended periods of long-term cold weather or widespread power outages, your pipes could suffer.

Here are the basics:

  • Water freezes at 32 degrees (Fahrenheit) or colder
  • Pipes in 20 degrees or colder for prolonged periods will freeze
  • Exterior pipes freeze much faster than internal pipes

Water expands 9% when it freezes. There is no stopping it, so it can burst pipes, fittings, and valves. If you live in the southern United States or a warmer climate where below-freezing temperatures occur infrequently, your business may be at a higher risk of a burst pipe.

Many commercial property owners have experienced this issue. To avoid sharing in their misfortune, it is imperative that you take the necessary steps to prevent your own water system from freezing.

If your pipes freeze, you can save your property from total loss by taking these steps in frozen conditions:

  1. Shut off the main water valve: Find the main water valve for your property and turn it off to keep additional water from flowing into the affected portion of the system. If your fire protection sprinkler pipes burst, you will need to post a full-time fire watch.
  2. Turn off the electricity to the affected area: Live current near a flooded area can present shock hazards. Turn off the power at the electrical panel to prevent dangerous conditions.
  3. Contact a plumber: If you see standing water but can’t tell where the frozen or burst pipe is, call a plumber to diagnose and start the repair process. Fixing the source of the leak is your top priority!
  4. Call a restoration company: Call a reputable water removal company to help you document the damage for insurance purposes. They can also help you with restoration services and cleanup.
  5. File a claim: Work with the water restoration company to document the damage and file a claim with your insurance company. Most commercial property insurance policies cover sudden damage from burst pipes.

For a free download of our winter preparedness checklist, please click here.

The IEI Advantage for Structural Engineering

Innovative Engineering Inc. has been a trusted structural engineering, waterproofing engineering, and restoration engineering resource to some of the largest property owners and managers across the United States for over 25 years.

Our passion is showing real estate professionals how to self-inspect their facilities in order to reduce repair and replacement costs and know when to call in an expert. Our engineers are glad to walk your facility, let you know the condition, what and when repairs or replacement are necessary, and provide reports with construction costs and recommend quality contractors to perform the work.

Contact us today to get a quote!

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