Keep business flowing: Prevent frozen pipes

By October 14, 2014 March 29th, 2018 Company News

By Troy Dohmeyer

Keep business flowing: Prevent frozen pipes

Arctic temperatures can have a dramatic effect on your building, freezing pipes and causing costly damage. Especially vulnerable systems include fire protection equipment and piping; heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment; compressors and piping; water and sprinkler mains; valves; and sanitary systems. Depending on the extent of damage, failure or disruption of these important systems can be expensive to repair or force temporary closure of your business.

Certain types of buildings and occupancies are more susceptible to freeze claims, especially during extreme cold. Schools, stores, offices, apartment buildings, vacant buildings and buildings more than one story tall are more likely to experience a freeze-related loss, and when they do experience a freeze, the damage can be greater than in other types of buildings. For example, some buildings are designed to make use of heat generated by human occupants. When vacant for long periods during extreme cold, the temperature can drop below freezing.

Churches, schools and multi-tenant mercantile buildings are especially vulnerable because they can be unoccupied for several days at a time.

FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT

Fire protection equipment including water mains, extinguishers, hydrants, sprinkler systems and post indicator valves can be extremely vulnerable to drops in temperature during severe winter weather. Post indicator valves are cast iron vertical indicator posts designed to operate the control valve of an automatic fire sprinkler system. If a fire occurs, frozen equipment could result in insufficient means to contain the fire. Verify that all fire protection equipment is operating effectively, and if it is brought offline or damaged, have a qualified fire protection contractor repair the system and place it back into service.

  • Plan for maintenance personnel to manage and monitor buildings during cold snaps, making more frequent visits to buildings or areas of buildings not normally occupied.
  • Be certain that hydrants and their locations are properly marked so they may be easily located and cleared after a heavy snowstorm.
  • Inspect all areas along the perimeter of the building to ensure they are sealed and there are no drafty areas.
  • Drain wall hydrants and fire pump test connections that may be exposed to freezing.
  • Verify that underground water mains have adequate depth of cover. For water mains that do not have adequate cover, can they be isolated and shut off to protect from freezing?
  • Check packing on post indicator control valves for leaking, and repair as necessary.
  • If fire pump suction is from a reservoir, make certain that the in-flow pipe is below the …read more

    Cincinnati Insurance Company Blog: Cincinnati Insurance Company