Is your business ready for winter?

It’s official, winter is upon us and it’s exactly the time of year where you should be thinking about how you’re going to protect your business against burst pipes and leaks during the colder months of the year. 

Burst pipes are not only expensive to repair, but it could close your business if it causes a lot of damage and you’re not able to stay open. It’s especially important to make sure all your exposed pipes are lagged if you close over the Christmas period so you don’t come back to a flooded business in the New Year.

Here are 8 simple top tips to protect your business this winter.

1. Understand your water system and lag your pipes

Take the time to understand the water system in your business, this will enable you to highlight any risks. At the very least, understand where the main stop tap is into your business so you can quickly shut off the water if needed. This could save your business thousands of pounds in flood damage and lost sales if you have a burst pipe and have to close for repairs. Make sure all your pipework is lagged – especially in exposed, cold or draughty places as lagging can prevent pipes from freezing and bursting when the temperature drops.

2. Keep your heating on low, especially if you close during the Christmas period

Keeping the heating on low can prevent your pipes freezing and bursting. If you close over the Christmas period, keeping the heating on low could prevent the hassle and expense of returning to a flooded business in the New Year. 

3. Make sure you have a contingency plan

Do you know what to do if you have a frozen pipe? If you have a burst? How would your business cope and could you continue to trade if you had a flood? Make sure you’ve considered all the options and have a plan in place to deal with all eventualities. 

4. Communication is key

Ask your employees to flag to you if they see any issues with your water pipework and make sure they understand what to do in a water emergency.

5. Check your cover

Make sure your business is covered for any damage caused by a burst pipe. Remember, you are responsible for the maintenance of all the pipework within the boundary of your business – this includes all you internal plumbing and the underground pipe transporting water into your business from our water main - so check to make sure all this is covered on your insurance.

6. Get real time weather updates

Stay one step ahead so you can plan accordingly. Look into setting up weather alerts which inform you of any local or regional flooding and cold weather warnings.

7. Check your business for leaks

You’re paying for all the water that is recorded on your water meter so it makes good financial sense not to let any of this go to waste. Leaking taps, urinals, wash areas, hosepipes, pressure washers – over the year the cost of leaks really does add up and could be costing your business hundreds of pounds more than you need to pay. Have you experienced an increase in your bill or a drop in water pressure? Both could be early signs of a leak in your water pipework and should be investigated. It pays to make sure your pipework is in good condition before any cold snap arrives.

8. Know who to contact in an emergency

Make sure you have details to hand of who you need to contact if you have a burst so you can get this repaired as soon as possible. Your retailer may also be able to help with this, check their website to see if they offer any repair services or recommend any plumbing services. If not, you can find a local plumber at www.watersafe.org.uk