How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

As temperatures start to drop below freezing, it’s time to start preparing your facility for frozen pipes. In this article we share what causes pipes to freeze, as well as prevention tips to reduce the chances of frozen pipes that can burst in your facility. Taking preventive steps now can save you from major headaches later!

Did you know that frozen pipes that burst are one of the most common causes of property damage during cold weather? It can cause thousands of dollars in repairs, along with major problems for facility managers and maintenance personnel. It’s worthwhile to try and eradicate the problem before it occurs.

What Causes Pipes to Freeze?

  1. 1. Lack of insulation. Pipes that are exposed and unprotected are more susceptible to freezing.  Cold water and refrigeration lines can produce condensation which can also freeze.
  1. 2. Cold Spaces. Some areas within a facility are cooler than others. Basements, exterior walls, closets, storage areas, crawl spaces, remote areas used less often, and of course buildings that are currently closed due to the pandemic are all places that are likely to have lower temperatures.
  1. 3. Lack of Water Circulation. If pipes do not have water regularly circulating through them, it increases the likelihood that they will freeze. This can happen to both water supply and drainage pipes that have water sitting in them for long periods of time.

Avoid dealing with freezing pipes and all of the headaches that come with them by preparing your facility for winter. Read our frozen pipe prevention tips below, and take all of the steps you can to make sure your facility is ready for fierce winter weather. There is no such thing as being overly prepared when it comes to prepping your facility for winter and below freezing temperatures. 

Frozen Pipe Prevention Tips

  • Complete a walk-through of your facility to identify cold areas in the building. Resolve any issues causing cold air leaks. This includes adding weather stripping to doors and windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces, etc.
  • This will decrease the chances of pipes freezing in that area, and also lower your energy bills.
  • Cover pipes in cold areas with insulation. Also, insulate pipes that have water sitting in them for long periods of time, since lack of circulation can lead to pipes freezing. See our insulation tape below for an effective solution.
  • Check all shutoff valves and levers to make sure they are in proper working order. Replace if needed.
  • Always have repair parts and supplies on hand. See below for some great pipe repair items. Ensure that all staff knows the location of these items.
  • Protect your water meter and the pipes leading to it. Make sure all exposed pipes are well insulated. This is a great area to use electrical heat tracing wire. Make sure the meter pit lid is closed tightly. Leave any snow that falls on it, since snow will actually act as insulation. 
  • Keep heat at or above 55°F or winterize facilities that are closed.
  • Create a plan that clearly describes what to do if a pipe bursts. Educate all staff on the plan, and make sure there is always someone on hand who is capable of executing it. Affirm that they all know where the main water shut-off is located, and how to turn it off.
  • Inspect all of your water pipes on a regular basis. Look for any signs of leaks or fatigue that could cause them to fail when the temperature drops below freezing.

We carry all of the parts needed to prepare your facility for winter weather and frozen pipes. See the list of our most popular pipe repair items below, or give us a call to find any other winterizing gear you need. 

View our Line Card to learn which manufacturers we carry. We have more pipe repair parts than we list in this article or on our website.