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Thinking about the construction of the building where your business resides may not be the highest priority for your company, but when winter starts scratching at the door, it’s important not to ignore it. Water pipes that are left out in the cold can freeze, which will block water flow at best and burst open at worst, leading to flooding damage, costly replacement fees, and other headaches a business would do better to avoid.

If you want to make sure your water pipes stay safe and sound throughout the cold months, then follow these simple tips.

Tip #1: Close and Drain The Pipes

This tip works for homeowners and businesses alike. If you have water pipes that you aren’t going to be using for the winter, like exterior spigots that you would normally hook up to a garden hose, then shut them off from the inside, and drain the pipe.

Leave the pipe open so that water can drain out over time, because if you close it again once you think it’s drained you can accidentally shut water in the pipe, which can freeze during the winter, and damage the pipe. Even if it isn’t going to be a gusher, there’s no sense in warping or breaking it.

Tip #2: Insulate Your Pipes

An easy way to prevent water pipes from freezing during the cold months is to make sure the pipes are insulated. This might be something as simple as putting foam sleeves around them, which is the equivalent of putting a down jacket on before you head out into a blizzard, or it might involve a more permanent, spray coating to keep your water from freezing up.

Whichever method you choose, wrapping your pipes can often make the difference between running water, and a flooded crawl space.

Tip #3: Keep The Heat Turned Up

While heating costs are a big expense for businesses, especially if they’re heating somewhere like a warehouse, it’s important to make sure that if there are water pipes in a building that you maintain at least a 40-degree internal temperature. That doesn’t sound like much, but if the temperature drops too far below that threshold and you need water (like, say, a fire breaks out), you don’t want to find out after the fact that the thermostat was simply set too low to keep everything thawed.

Tip #4: Regularly Inspect The Water Pipes

Most of the time, we take water pipes for granted. As long as the sink still works,and the toilets still flush, we don’t put too much thought into the veins and arteries carrying our hot and cold water from point A to point B.

However, if you’re a business owner who wants to catch any problems before they get to be big and expensive, it’s a good idea to perform regular pipe inspections. While it might be time-consuming, an issue caught while it’s a few ice chips inside the pipe is a close call when compared to what it could be.

Tip #5: Install Electronic Pipe Heating

While an expensive preventative tip, some businesses install heating specifically for their pipes. This allows them to make sure pipes are surrounded by a heating coil, and they can monitor the heat in a given area from the main control board. For businesses that are serious about preventing pipe freezes, particularly in areas with rather extreme winters, this is a preventative measure that will pay for itself in time.

If you can follow these five, simple tips, then your business’s water pipes will be safe no matter what winter throws at you!