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WaterSignal: Best Winter Practices for Preventing Burst Pipes
Atlanta — Jan. 26, 2016 — While frozen pipes are traditionally associated with single-family homes, they also can cause havoc with commercial, institutional, and multi-family buildings as well.
Recently, frozen pipes have burst in an office building in Springfield, Ohio, and a psychology building at The Ohio State University in Columbus.
With winter’s freezing temperatures likely to stick around another month, WaterSignal, the manufacturer of a system that sends real-time water usage date and alerts to building owners/managers, is providing recommendations to safeguard pipes in unheated areas before they cause freeze and cause messy, and often expensive issues.
“Water is unique in that it expands as it freezes,” said David Taylor, senior vice president, WaterSignal. “As the water in your pipes begins to freeze, the expansion places tremendous pressure on the pipe wall. Regardless of quality and strength, expanding water can cause pipes to break.”
“Just one burst pipe running at 4 to 8 gallons per minute can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage in a matter of minutes. And the water cost alone — since bursts may occur during the weekend when no one is around — can be very high.”
The most common freezes occur on pipes that are exposed to frigid temperatures such as outdoor hose bibs and water supply lines in unheated interior areas like basements and crawlspaces.
Taylor recommends that during days of extreme cold, take preventative action by:
• Opening cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
• Allowing cold water to drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe helps prevent pipes from freezing.
• Keeping the thermostat set to the same temperature (no lower than 55 degrees F) both during the day, and at night. You may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job from pipe freezing.
In the event a pipe freezes and you experience a “no flow” situation:
• Turn off the property’s main water valve and leave the faucets open until pipes thaw.
• Do not apply open flame, electronic heaters, or hair dryers directly to the piping. Patience and a warm environment are the best way to thaw pipes without causing damage.
• When turning the main water valve back on, have one person slowly turn the valve on while another person walks the property to be sure no water is leaking.
If water is flowing, immediately turn off the property’s main water valve and open faucets in the lowest part of the property, e.g., basement laundry sink.
For added assurance, consider using WaterSignal’s breakthrough water monitoring technology. WaterSignal is a self-contained, non-intrusive monitor that continuously reads the water meter and wirelessly sends real-time data to a website portal, allowing the manager to view the property’s water consumption by month, day, or even by hour.
If a major leak occurs, the device immediately alerts the manager or engineer that a water spike above the preset limit has occurred. The alert can be sent to both a computer and a smartphone for the manager to act upon, and can be customized for business hours, as well as after hours and weekends.
While the WaterSignal monitoring system can help reduce the catastrophic costs associated with undetected leaks, the data the system collects plays a vital role in the building manager’s water conservation efforts as well.
For more information, visit www.watersignal.com.