Prevent Frozen Pipes

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frozen-pipesTo help prevent your building’s interior from dropping below freezing temperatures and to reduce the potential damage, IBHS recommends the following:

  • Provide a reliable back-up power source, such as a stand by generator, to ensure continuous power to the building.
  • Interior building temperature can be monitored by a central monitoring company to ensure prompt notification if the interior of the building reaches low temperatures during after hours, power outages or idle periods.
  • Recessed light fixtures in the ceiling below the open area that is directly under a roof, such as attic space, should be insulated to prevent the release of heat into the attic.
    • Check to see if there is any visible light from recessed light fixtures in the attic.
      • If there is, they are not adequately sealed or insulated. Sometimes, especially in low sloped roof buildings, the space above a suspended ceiling located below the roof may be heated and cooled like the occupied area below.
      • If that is the case, there is no need to insulate above the suspended ceiling or seal the ceiling’s penetrations.
  • Insulate all attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, electric and mechanical chases, and access doors that are not properly sealed.
  • Ensure proper seals on all doors and windows. Depending on the building or room size, fan tests can be conducted to ensure room and pressurization tests.
  • Seal all wall cracks and penetrations including domestic and fire protection lines, electrical conduit, other utility service line, etc.
  • Sprinkler systems should be monitored by a constantly attended central station to provide early detection of a sprinkler pipe rupture due to freezing.
  • Insulation and/or heat trace tape with a reliable power source may be installed on various wet sprinkler system piping. This includes main lines coming up from underground passing through a wall as well as sprinkler branch lines.
  • UL-approved gas or electric unit heaters can be installed in unheated sprinkler control valve/fire pump rooms. If back up power is provided, the heaters should also be connected to this power source.
  • A monitored automatic excess flow switch can be placed on the main incoming domestic water line to provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve when the business is closed.

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