Are You Prepared for the Cold Weather?

2014 seems to be the year of the “Polar Vortex.” When the thermometer drops, the risk for property damage and claims rise. However, there are precautions that can be taken to protect your home or business during periods of severe cold weather.

* Every effort should be made to maintain heat in the building.

* If the building will be unoccupied for a period, the thermostat should be set no lower than 55 degrees.

* All interior doors as well as bathroom door vanity and kitchen sink cabinets, should be left wide open so the temperature does not fall below 50 degrees.

* Prior to going to bed, or leaving the house you should run hot and cold water in all the faucets, including exterior faucets, for at least a period of twenty seconds. You should also flush all toilet at least twice. This is to avoid potential pipe freezing.

In addition to modifying the tips for homeowners, commercial building owners are encouraged to take the following precautions.

* Monitor water leaks

* Monitor interior temperature changes

* Protect plumbing in unoccupied spaces

* Protect unheated rooms

* Monitor fire sprinkler systems

* Drain outdoor irrigation / water systems

*Set thermostats in sprinklered areas of the buildings to operate at or above forty degrees

* Close doors and windows leading to sprinklered areas

* Ensure there is an adequate fuel supply for the heat source

*For buildings with dry sprinkler systems, check that the dry pipe valves are properly set and air pressure is maintained

*Drain dry pipe auxiliary drains and their low points

* Maintain fire pump room heat over forty degrees

* If a pipe does freeze, do not try to thaw it out yourself. Contact a licensed professional to assist, as the resulting water damage could worsen conditions.