How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes

As a business owner, it is imperative to safeguard your property from all the dangerous impacts of the winter season. As temperatures begin to drop, the threat of frozen pipes becomes a reality for many. Fortunately, there are proactive measures that businesses can take to prevent frozen pipes and safely thaw pipes that do freeze.

The Consequences of Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can wreak havoc on your business. When water inside pipes freezes, it expands, causing pressure to build up. This pressure can lead to cracks or even burst pipes, which can result in extensive water damage to your property. The financial and operational implications of such damage can be terrible. Repairing structural damage, addressing water damage to equipment, and the potential for business interruption can be expensive and time-consuming.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Preventing pipes from freezing is a far more cost-effective approach than dealing with the aftermath. Here are some practical steps to safeguard your business:

Check Insulation

Ensure that your pipes are properly insulated, especially in areas prone to extreme cold. Pipe insulation is a relatively low-cost investment that can save you from costly repairs down the road.

Maintain Adequate Heating

Maintain a consistent temperature in your building, even during off-hours. Programmable thermostats can help you achieve this without excessive energy costs.

Seal Cracks and Leaks

Seal any gaps, cracks, or leaks that allow cold air to enter the building, This not only helps prevent frozen pipes but also conserves energy.

Let Faucets Drip

When extremely cold weather is forecasted, allowing faucets to drip slightly can relieve pressure within the pipes and prevent freezing.

Keep Doors and Windows Closed

Ensure that exterior doors and windows are tightly closed to minimize drafts that could freeze pipes.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

Despite our best prevention efforts, there may still be times when a pipe freezes. It’s important to know how to safely thaw a pipe:

  • Locate the Frozen Section.

Identify the frozen area of the pipe by feeling for extremely cold or bulging sections.

  • Turn Off the Water Supply.

Before attempting to thaw the pipe, shut off the main water supply to prevent a sudden rush of water if the pipe bursts during the thawing process.

  • Use Safe Heat Sources.

Avoid using open flames, as they can be a fire hazard. Instead, use safe heat sources like a hair dryer, heat lamp, or electric heating pad.

  • Start Thawing at the Faucet.

If the pipe in question has a faucet, be sure to start the thawing process at the faucet end of the pipe. Work your way towards the frozen section. This allows any water to escape as the ice melts.

Insurance Coverage

When it comes to protecting your business, few things are as essential as proper risk management. As part of your risk management strategy, it’s essential to review your business insurance policies. Ensure that you have adequate coverage in the event that property damage occurs from frozen pipes. 

SIA Insurance Group provides excellent insurance to businesses throughout Illinois and beyond. Give us a call to chat about how a comprehensive commercial property insurance policy can help offset the financial burden associated with pipe bursts. You can reach us at 630-325-4000.

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