In much of the country, right now, snow, ice, and freezing temperatures are very real concerns. In one such area, a high school faced major issues when the water lines were exposed to the frigid cold and broke as a result. The burst was a bad one and resulted in the students being sent home, while the problems were addressed.
In many cases, frozen pipes are the result of poor maintenance practices, though it is not clear in this case if there was something more at play at the time of the break. It is important to understand, though, that whether residential or commercial, your property can suffer the same sort of issues that this school must now pay for, if you do not take proper actions to prevent it.
Regular inspections, particularly in the coldest months of the year, are not just recommended, but necessary. A bursting pipe doesn’t just mean system repairs, it can often result in a halt of operations, the need for evacuation or, worse, physical harm to individual occupying the space.
So, what does one look for when trying to prevent major freeze-ups? Look for cracks in the foundation or the walls that could allow the warm air to escape. Furthermore, ensure that insulation has been installed and installed properly to keep the area around the water lines warm enough to prevent freezing.
If you notice signs of freezing, consider investment in an infrared temperature gun, which can provide a clear picture of the space, drawing attention to air leaks and areas of poor insulation. The OptrisLaserSight LS infared Thermometer and Optris PI thermal imager with USB 2.0 can be used by facility personnel to conduct building envelope inspections. These tools aren’t just useful in the cold of winter, but can also be used in the warmest months of the year to detect potential reasons for high cooling expenses. But, in the cold of winter, they can prevent the devastating impacts felt by the school system mentioned above.