Is your business ready for winter?

It’s official, winter is upon us and it’s exactly the time of year when 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. Here are a number of simple to 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 when the temperature drops to freezing
Keeping the heating on low can prevent your pipes freezing and bursting - this is especially important if your business is closed at the weekends. You don't want to come back to your business on a Monday to find the pipes have burst.

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? 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 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 in your business including the underground pipe that brings water into your building, so check to see if 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 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. 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.

8. Know who to contact in an emergency
Make sure you have details 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 watersafe.org.uk