New Englanders know our winters can produce freezing temperatures and increased amounts of precipitation and ice, a challenging combination on homes and businesses. But as temperatures dip, there is an increased chance of a common and costly problem for properties big and small; frozen and burst water pipes. Unfortunately, pipes of any material can burst at a business, including PVC, plastic, iron and lead, causing hundreds-to-thousands of gallons of water to quickly saturate floors, walls, electronics, and more throughout your business. Pipe bursts is one of the leading sources of damage when temperatures drop, creating a costly disruption to your employees, clients and business operation.
Why do Pipes Freeze and Burst?
While everyday use causes wear and tear on your business’ plumbing, the most common cause of burst pipes is freezing. When temperatures drop below 32 degrees Farenheit, it can cause the water inside pipes to freeze. The ice build-up within the pipe will expand, creating pressure within the pipe. This pressure buildup is the actual cause of bursting pipes, resulting in water spills and damage.
There are steps that businesses can take to reduce the risk of frozen pipes and costly water damage during the winter months. Businesses should make certain their thermostats are never set below 55 degrees Fahrenheit and take other steps to prevent frozen pipes:
Seal all cracks, holes, windows, doors and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating wall cavities.
Insulate and seal all partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks and electrical and mechanical chases.
Relieve Pipe Pressure.
Let all faucets drip during extreme cold weather to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipes. Even a slight drip or trickle will prevent water from freezing. If freezing does occur, relieve the pressure buildup inside the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet.
Keep the Building Warm.
Install a monitoring system that provides notifications if a building’s temperature dips below 55 degrees.
Insulate Vulnerable Pipes.
Insulate pipes most vulnerable to freezing by using pipe insulation. Pipes can also be wrapped in heat tape or heat cables that are thermostatically controlled.
Install Early Detection Systems.
Install an automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming water line to monitor and provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve. Use wireless sensors near water sources.
Monitor Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems.
Monitor sprinkler systems using a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure and to heat any unheated sprinkler control rooms.
Install Backup Power.
Provide a reliable backup power source to ensure heat to the building.
Damage Caused By Burst Pipes
If a pipe bursts at your facility, the first step is to turn off the water supply at the water main and arrange for the broken pipe to be repaired by a plumbing professional. Then, call the disaster restoration experts. While it may seem as though a shop vac and towels will be all you need to clean-up water damage from burst pipes, water can quickly penetrate porous items like concrete floors, carpets, drywall, and wood, make its way behind baseboards and destroy electronics and documents. Staining on walls, ceilings and floors indicates moisture still trapped in or behind building materials, and mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-hours after a water concern.
Professional Water Mitigation Services When Pipes Burst
Don’t let damage from frozen and burst pipes soak your business! If you experience a burst pipe at your business or office, ServiceMaster By Masin is ready to help 24/7 with water extraction and drying, dehumidification, document drying and removal, mold remediation and carpet, floor and upholstery cleaning. Our restoration experts are ready 24/7 to help with issues big and small, and minimize interruption to your business.