Burst Pipe Prevention Tips

When temperatures dip below freezing and cold air blows into the building, plumbing on the exterior walls are susceptible to freezing and bursting.

The name of the game is to keep plumbing and walls warm.

  • Exterior – Seal all cracks, holes, windows, doors and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating wall cavity.
  • Exterior – Close Valves. Close the valves located indoors that supply your outdoor hose bibs. Open hose bibs to allow all the water to drain out of them and then close it back up.
  • Interior – Insulate and seal attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, and electric and mechanical chases.  During cold weather, a chilly draft is enough to push your pipes to the point of freezing.  Fix any broken windows, use weatherstripping, close off crawl spaces.
  • Relieve Pipe Pressure – Allow faucets to drip during extreme cold weather to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe, and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and faucet.
  • Keep the Building Warm – Favor climate control and defending against cold temps, over energy efficiency.  Keep heat on and above 55 degrees.  Install a monitoring system that provides notifications if the building’s temperature dips below a pre-determined number.
  • Insulate Vulnerable Pipes – Insulate pipes most vulnerable to freezing by using pipe insulation.  Pay extra attention to non-temperature controlled areas like the garage and basement.
  • Monitor Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems – Monitor by using a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure and heat unheated sprinkler control rooms.
  • Install Backup Power – Provide a reliable backup power source to ensure heat to the building.
  • Drain Water System – If the property is unoccupied or not in use, drain water system.  Homeowners, if you must leave town during unpredictable winter weather, consider shutting off the water.
  • Train Staff / Occupants on Location of Shutoff Valves – Educate others on where your shuttoff valves are located, so if you do have a burst pipe, this measure can be enacted efficiently to minimize damage.

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