Winterizing/Prepare Plumbing for Cold Weather
Frigid St. Louis winters can cause major damage to your commercial plumbing systems, if not efficiently protected. Your sprinkler system and outdoor plumbing systems can be especially vulnerable during freezing temperatures.
Cold temperatures can cause sprinkler piping to expand and even burst, resulting in major water damage to buildings, contents, and equipment. A burst pipe can also impair automatic sprinkler systems and leave a major portion of your facility without fire protection. A fire during this situation may result in a major interruption to your business and a huge loss.
Best practices to ensure your pipes don’t freeze, winter bills stay manageable, and customers and clients stay comfortable in your commercial building:
• Check for any outdoor lighting issues, including broken fixtures and underground wiring breaks. Winter means shorter days and an increased reliance on lighting, make sure visitors know you are open and can easily navigate the trip from their car to your door.
• Check the winterization of your pipes, and turn off and drain outdoor spigots, to help prevent them from freezing and rupturing.
• Perform boiler startups, and consider having your heating system inspected and cleaned to ensure a warm office/store when the temperatures drop to unbearable. Then turn on those heaters to help your clients and customers comfortably defrost and enjoy their time in your space.
• Winterize overhead and service doors and check every door to make sure they close properly; this will keep your heating bills a bit more manageable.
• Consider installing self-regulating roof, gutter and downspout deicing cables to prevent the aforementioned accumulation hazards.
Your building temperature should be monitored, documented, and maintained at 55° F or higher
• Perform freeze protection inspections and be cognizant of shutdown procedures
• Have a contingency plan with contractors and suppliers
• Pre-emergency planning for fire, water damage, and snow removal should be established
• Boilers, furnaces, heaters, and flues should be serviced regularly
• 24-hour building surveillance
• Enforce a no-smoking policy
• Safeguard flammable or combustible liquids
• Tanks should not leak and pressure should be checked
• Water temperature should remain at 42°F or above
• Check fire hydrants for proper drainage by outside contractor or water department
• Buried sprinkler control valves and valve pits should be marked in the event of heavy snowfall
• Fire pump room should not drop below 70°F
• Post indicator valve, OS&Y valve, and test header to pump inspected regularly
Wet Pipe Sprinkler Systems
• All areas of buildings with sprinkler systems should maintain a temperature of 40°F or above
• Cold weather valves should be closed while all others remain open
• Windows, skylights, and doors should be in good condition and sealed tightly
• Check temperatures with thermometer
Dry Pipe Systems
• Dry lines should be checked for proper drainage so trapped water doesn't cause breakage
• Check drains located in cold places for freezing
• Dry-valve clapper should be properly set with temperature maintained at 40°F or above
• Low air pressure alarms should be provided, calibrated and connected to constantly
• Low pressure switches should be set at 5 psi which is above trip point of dry pipe valve
• Air pressure checked regularly with records maintained to indicate normal pressure
• Air drying equipment available to supply air to system as designed
Our professionals can help properly winterize and shutdown your plumbing systems to prevent burst pipes and costly repairs. Call us to speak to an expert today!