Beat the freeze
Pipework within your business boundary is your responsibility, so it is worth protecting it to avoid the hassle or cost of burst pipes over the winter. 

Here are some simple steps to protect your business during the colder months:

  • Insulate your water tanks and pipes with lagging (available from DIY stores).
  • Don’t forget pipes in unheated areas like garages, storage spaces or in empty properties.
  • Find your property’s internal stopcock and make sure you can turn it off if needed.
  • Fix dripping taps.
  • In unheated areas consider installing trace heating.
  • Check your boiler and heating has been serviced.
  • Minimise draughts and close doors to unheated parts of the property.
  • Leave the heating on low while you are away or during cold snaps. Some insurers require either the water supply to be isolated or heating to be set a minimum temperature and left switched on. Please check your policy.
  • If your property is going to be unoccupied or un-used for a while, turn off the water at the stopcock and drain the system so there is no water left in the pipes.
  • Check external water supplies e.g., fire hoses, outdoor toilets in un-heated areas.
  • Install control valves so you can isolate areas which may be at a higher risk of frozen pipes.
  • Ensure that sprinkler systems and fire systems are adequately protected from freezing.
  • Know where your water meter and stopcock are, and any sub meters so key areas can be identified and quickly shut off.
  • Make sure that chemical storage tanks and associated pipework are adequately protected from freezing.
  • Ensure any evaporative cooling systems that are in use are circulating at a sufficient temperature not to freeze and inspect regularly.
If a pipe freezes:

  • If you have no water, check with your neighbours. If they still have water, your pipes may have frozen.
  • Turn off the water supply at the stopcock and check to see if the pipe has burst.
  • Gently thaw the pipe with a hot water bottle, towel soaked in hot water or carefully with a hair dryer. Never used a naked flame.
If a pipe bursts:

  • Turn off the stopcock.
  • If water has leaked near your electrics or into any electrical appliances switch them off at the mains.
  • Open all taps on the system which is leaking to drain the system quickly.
  • Block off and soak up any escaping water with thick towels.
  • Call a qualified plumber or your plumbing contractor. WaterSafe can help you find a local approved plumbing business on www.watersafe.org.uk 
Winter Checklist for Your Business

  1. Check you have a plan for where your pipework is.
  2. Have a contact for a local plumber to hand.
  3. Have a copy of your insurance documentation.
  4. Check you know where your stopcock and any control valves are, so any leaks can be isolated.
  5. Check the stopcock and valves are working.
  6. Check or add any pipe lagging
  7. Check any trace heating or thermostats are working.
  8. Check your heating system is serviced and in good working order
  9. Isolate and drain down any unused water pipework in unheated or un-used areas.
  10. Isolate any outside taps and cover/insulate them and remove all outside hoses.
  11. Regularly check your premises and repair any leaks.
Beat the Freeze for Business Guide

Useful information