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Preventing frozen pipes at your business

Icicles hanging off a frozen pipe.

Frozen pipes cause significant damage to buildings every winter, including for West Bend customers. In December 2022, over a period of seven days, temperatures dropped to below zero throughout the Midwest. 567 West Bend customers had water pipes that froze and burst. The cost of these losses exceeded $18 million.

As the weather gets colder, it’s crucial to ensure that your business is ready, and pipes are protected. Pipes can freeze in areas of your building that aren’t regularly used, like closets and attics. It’s also very important to check the building’s sprinkler system, wet and dry systems alike. Areas protected by a wet system must be kept warm enough all winter to ensure water won’t freeze. Dry systems still require low points to be drained at various times throughout the year. If you’re not sure how to do this, the contractor servicing your building’s sprinkler system should be able to provide instructions and guidance.

Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Insulate pipes throughout the building.
  • Keep temperatures in the building above 55 degrees at all times.
  • Install a monitoring system to alert someone if the building’s temperature falls below a predetermined temperature.
  • Drain pipes that aren’t protected or used during the winter.
  • Familiarize employees with how to shut off the water, to both the building and the sprinkler system, so if a pipe bursts the damage can be quickly mitigated.
  • Install backup power to ensure the building stays warm enough in the event of a power failure.
  • Contact your sprinkler contractor to evaluate for areas that are susceptible to freezing. 
  • Sprinkler systems should be tied to a third-party central station monitoring provider. When a system is electronically monitored, a signal will be sent automatically if there is water flowing and the appropriate facility contact can be notified in a timely manner.

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