Winter Loss Prevention

Every winter, millions of pounds worth of damage is done, both domestically and commercially, through frozen and burst pipes.

Whilst a frozen or burst pipe in the home may be inconvenient and costly, a burst pipe could potentially cause irreparable damage to your business. The true cost of water damage in the work place is not always immediately obvious. The initial consequence of a burst pipe will be damage to stock, electrical equipment and machinery. Direct costs will be incurred for plumbing repairs, clean-up and salvage activities, but beyond that, you may also suffer a loss of client confidence through late deliveries and you may even permanently lose clients to competitors.

There are, however, several cost-effective, simple and quick steps that can be taken to avoid such risks:

  • Ensure that all stock is clear of the floor by at least 100mm and not touching the roof or side walls of the building.
  • Familiarise yourself and your staff with the location of your stop-cock and ensure that everyone knows how to turn it off in an emergency.
  • Identify possible ‘freezing risk points’ in your system, these include areas where it is particularly draughty.
  • Fully lag all pipes, especially those in exposed or unheated areas, and ensure that insulation is replaced as soon as it starts to show wear and tear.
  • Insulate water tanks on all sides, but not underneath – this will allow warm air to circulate.
  • If you are not operating over weekends or are having an extended Christmas break, it may be worth leaving the heating on low.
  • If you have outside taps, isolate and drain them if they are not going to be used.
  • Regularly run taps that are served from exposed pipe work.
  • If your building is fitted with sprinklers, seek professional advice from the installation or maintenance company.

Other Factors to Consider

As winter approaches, there are a couple of other things to remember:

  • Make sure that gutters and drainage systems are inspected and cleared of any obstructions, leaves or other debris.
  • Take care to ensure that combustible materials are kept a safe distance away from heaters.

For more information, contact our risk control team or your local NMU Underwriter.


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