Based upon allRisk’s experience in responding to emergencies during extreme winter weather, here are some helpful tips to reduce property loss this time of year:
Before Freezing Weather
• Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the property.
• Remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outside faucets with Styrofoam cover, rags or paper.
• Cover vents around the foundation of the property.
• Know where your property owner’s cut-off valve is located and how to use it. The valve is located adjacent to the water meter box under a 6″ metal lid.
In Sub-Freezing Weather
• Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (roughly 5 drops per minute).
• In heated areas, open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
• If a washing machine is in an unheated area such as a garage, turn off both the hot and cold water lines and disconnect them. Place both lines in the washing machine tub and drip the faucets.
• Water softeners should be drained and protected from freezing temperatures. Open the bypass around the water softener.
• In sustained sub-freezing weather, let water drip slowly from inside faucets (steady drip).
• Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past.
If You Are Not Going To Be On Site
• Cut water off at the property owner’s cut-off valve.
• Turn off the water heater.
• Drain all outside water faucets if the property will be unoccupied for several days. Leave kitchen, bathroom, and outside faucets open. Or,
• Leave heating system on at a low setting (at least 60oF).
• Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
If You Are Undergoing a Renovation
• Be informed about what types of temporary barriers (such as roof tarps) are being utilized and how much weather they can (or cannot withstand).
• As a general rule, during rain, high winds and snow, schedule increased monitoring of tarps and renovation site to ensure the barrier has not been compromised, allowing moisture intrusion and/or water infiltration.
• Pay attention to downspouts and grading near the renovation site, make improvements as necessary. Poor grading plus a project-in-progress is a formula for water intrusion.
• Some roofing repair projects have the potential to spark fires. Be informed about what type of activities are being scheduled when, and ask your contractor what precautions they are taking to reduce potential risks.
General Preparedness and Business Contingency Planning
• Create a “Grab and Go” Kit with key numbers, financial, payroll and insurance documents.
• Keep copies of your building survey, blank checks and 24 hour phone number for your accounting software off site.