Frozen pipes can result in serious water damage when pipes split and ice melts. In addition serious fire damage can be incurred if attempts to thaw frozen pipes are not done with extreme care, caution and patience.
Thawing frozen water lines can be a tricky and sometimes dangerous process. Every year there are several fires (some major) resulting from attempts to thaw frozen pipes.
Extreme cold weather presents risks of frozen water and heating pipes which could burst and result in extensive water damage if not detected quickly. Water and heating pipes in guest rooms and storage areas can be especially susceptible during cold snaps if guests turn the heat down at night, leave windows partially open, or if heat is turned down in unoccupied rooms to save heating costs. Severe cold weather may cause pipes to freeze, crack and leak when heat returns and water will flood areas and run into rooms below, often causing extensive damage and taking rooms out of service.
Tips to Preventing Frozen Pipes
- Careful preparation in the fall and frequent monitoring during the cold weather is vital in the prevention of water damage losses:
- Have furnaces and boilers checked and serviced every fall by a qualified heating contractor to ensure that they are working properly.
- Check rooms frequently during cold snaps to ensure that all windows and exterior doors are closed properly and that heating systems are functioning properly.
- Have housekeeping staff visit rooms shortly after guests check out to ensure that windows are closed and heat has not been turned off.
- Do not turn down thermostats below 10°C (50°F) in unoccupied rooms, especially during cold weather. Heater failure could result in frozen pipes in a very short time.
- Install low temperature alarms that will alert an alarm center if inside temperatures drop to 5°C (41°F).
- Store temporary heaters on the property that could be used quickly in case of furnace failure.
- Maintain a 24-hour emergency contact phone list for staff to use in case of emergencies such as power failure, furnace failure or frozen pipes.
- Locate emergency shut-offs for water lines and sprinkler systems and ensure that staff know where the shutoffs are located and how to shut them down to reduce the damage.
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