Tips for Commercial Property Owners: How to Deal With Burst Water Pipes

How to Deal With Burst Water PipesDuring winter months when temperatures plunge well below freezing, frozen and burst water pipes happen. Believe it or not, water damage accounts for twenty percent of all insurance claims.  Frozen pipes are one of the biggest risks of property damage when temperatures drop.

Preventing Water Pipes From Bursting

 

According to IBHS, 37% of all frozen pipe failures are located in a basement where there is no heat. The best way to prevent pipes from freezing outside or in unheated areas inside the building is to wrap them with insulated sleeves.

Letting the water run at a slow drip can help relieve the pressure buildup if pipes do freeze. Inspect your pipes regularly for small leaks or fatigue.  A crack of just one-eighth of an inch in a standard water pipe can lead to more than 200 gallons of water spilling daily. If this happens undetected, the damage to floors, carpets walls and furnishing can be insurmountable.

If Pipes do burst while you are in the building, follow these 6 Steps:

  1. Turn water off at the main water supply. If this is not possible, call a plumber immediately and tell them it is an emergency.
  2. If water is seeping from the ceiling or walls, shut down the power supply and call an electrician.
  3. Turn off any immersion heater and central heating system to prevent heating the system while it is empty, which could cause damage.
  4. Protect any documents, computer systems and possessions by moving them to a safe location.
  5. Check property for water damage. If there is water pooling or bulging in ceilings, steer clear in case they should collapse. If it’s safe, you could make a small hole that will allow the water to slowly escape to a container placed below.
  6. Open the doors and windows to the water-damaged rooms in order to allow drying and hopefully preventing mold and mildew, which can be very costly to remove.

Lowering the heat during times that the building is unoccupied or for unleased space may save you money on your utilities, but if you lower it too much it could end up costing you more than you save if pipes freeze and burst. Daily checkups to any unoccupied spaces when temperatures dip below 20 degrees can help you catch a burst pipe before it does major damage.

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