Fifty million people will have a frozen pipe issue over the course of a winter. That equates to millions of dollars in insurance claims, not to mention the inconvenience and extra work.
Here are helpful tips from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety for preventing damage to your property:
- Provide a reliable back-up power source, such as a stand-by generator, to ensure continuous power to the building.
- Interior building temperature can be monitored by a central monitoring company to ensure prompt notification if the interior of the building reaches low temperatures after hours or during power outages or idle periods.
- To prevent the release of heat into the attic, insulate recessed light fixtures in the ceiling below the open area that is directly under a roof, such as attic space. Check to see if there is any visible light from recessed light fixtures in the attic.
If there is visible light, the lighting fixtures are not adequately sealed or insulated. Sometimes, especially in low-sloped roof buildings, the space above a suspended ceiling located below the roof may be heated and cooled like the occupied area below. If that is the case, there is no need to insulate above the suspended ceiling or seal the ceiling’s penetrations.
- Insulate all attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, electric and mechanical chases, and access doors that are not properly sealed.
- Ensure proper seals on all doors and windows. You may want to conduct a basic building pressurization test to increase infiltration through cracks and leaks, making them easier to detect.
- Seal all wall cracks and penetrations including domestic and fire protection lines, electrical conduit, other utility service line, etc.
- Sprinkler systems should be monitored by a constantly attended central station to provide early detection of a sprinkler pipe rupture due to freezing.
- Insulation and/or heat tape with a reliable power source may be installed on various 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 space is unoccupied.
- Seal gaps in windows and doors with caulk. Note: Taping glass does nothing to address the main point of protection – keeping the glass intact.
Be proactive! Develop a plan and execute!