Winter in the UK usually means plenty of cold weather and a mixture of wind, rain, ice, and snow. These severe weather conditions, along with fluctuating temperatures can lead to an increase in burst pipes and potential flooding. The risk is higher if your business closes during the winter months too.
Our top 12 tips go through how to get your business ready for winter to help prevent bursts and leaks and save money.
Have a plan in place
Develop a contingency plan to make sure your business could still operate in the event of a water emergency. Brief your employees on how to spot issues, what to do in an emergency and who to contact if you’re not on the premises.
Clear away leaves
Leaves and wet weather can block your gutters and drains and stop the water from flowing. If water has nowhere else to go it can build up and leak into roofs and walls or it may freeze and damage your property.
Locate your stop tap
Your water may need to be turned off quickly in an emergency as burst pipes are more common in colder weather. It’s important you know where your stop tap is and how to switch off the water to your premises.
Drain your system
If your business is going to be closed for a long period of time, turning off the stop tap and draining the system will ensure there’s no water in the system to freeze. This will also help to prevent burst pipes.
Protect from freeze
Insulate water tanks and any internal and external water pipes including their gaps, bends, valves, and fittings with lagging. Covering hot water pipes will help keep the water warmer and reduce energy bills.
Make sure you check for leaks or cracks on any inside and outside taps, pipes, urinals, and toilets. Even the smallest leak can add up to a significant cost over a long period and can impact your water pressure.
Keep up to date
Ensure your boiler is serviced once a year as if a boiler breaks down it can be expensive and disruptive to fix. You should also check your thermostats and clocks match to ensure the heating goes on at the correct time.
Have heating on low
When your business is closed and especially when temperatures drop below zero, keep your heating on low. This will help to keep your property at a consistent temperature and won’t use as much energy to heat up.
Reduce heat loss
If there is a loft space, check loft insulation is in good condition to help reduce heat loss and lower your heating bills. To allow warm air to circulate, if it is safe to do so, leave loft doors open.
Make sure your insurance includes repairs to your pipework and damage caused by burst pipes. If it doesn’t, consider taking out emergency cover. Save your insurance company and policy details in your phone so they are easy to find if you need them.
Submitting regular meter readings to your retailer throughout the year will help you to keep track of your water usage. If you notice your meter readings are higher than usual, you should check for a leak.
Have a qualified plumber and all the contacts you may need safely stored in your phone. Make sure your retailer has your emergency contact details. They can then notify you of any issues that could impact your water and business if there is an incident.