Allianz urges businesses to protect their pipes from freezing

freezing-pipes

Authored by Allianz

With businesses turning the heating down or off to keep their energy costs down, Allianz Commercial is sharing tips on how to prevent water pipes and storage tanks from freezing and bursting during the winter months.

Along with leaks and flooding, burst pipes are a common cause of water damage. Allianz data shows that the cost of an escape of water claim in a commercial property last winter was on average £5,330. This type of incident can be very disruptive for a business, as affected areas need to be dried out – which can take weeks – before repairs can start.

Although businesses get a discount this winter on gas and electricity unit prices, those prices are still double what they were in October 2021. Rising costs are affecting 89% of small firms, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), with utilities and fuel as the primary cost factors.

In this context, some pubs have considered closing for the cold season, while other businesses are looking at their heating costs. These steps come with some risks that need to be mitigated.

To stop pipes from freezing, businesses should consider:

  • Lagging their pipes or having low-level heating near exposed pipework and tanks; keeping the thermostat at 12°C or 13°C maintains a consistent heat level that stops pipes from getting too cold
  • Ensuring a frost stat is fitted in areas vulnerable to freezing temperatures
  • Shutting and draining the water system in unused areas but keeping sprinkler systems active and suitably protected from freezing
  • Following manufacturer guidelines for shutting down and restarting the heating

While some businesses might contemplate alternative means of heating, they should avoid portable heating, wood burning stoves, waste oil heaters or other appliances which can create increased fire hazards. In the first instance, it’s important to discuss the options with their broker or insurer. If they decide on alternative heating, these should be fixed, purpose-designed systems, installed and maintained by a competent person and operated according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. All heating appliances should be positioned clear of combustible materials. Surplus fuel supplies should be stored separately, spillage controls in place and refuelling and cleaning carried out according to manufacturer guidelines.

Stuart Daws, head of loss control engineering at Allianz, said: “With record-level inflation, businesses are bracing for a harsh winter. Of course, they should be looking at energy savings, but they should do so in a safe way so as to protect themselves from unwittingly introducing other risks and hazards which could lead to damage and disruption.”

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About Allianz

Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz Group,  a leading integrated financial services provider and the largest property and casualty insurer in the world.  

The mission of Allianz Insurance is to be the outstanding competitor in our chosen markets by delivering products and services that our clients recommend, being a great company to work for and achieving the best combination of profit and growth. We aim to achieve this by putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. 

Allianz is able to offer customers a wide range of products and services including home and motor and commercial insurance with full range of products and service for sole traders' right up to large commercial organisations.  

Allianz Insurance employs over 4,500 people across a network of 20 offices in the UK and the company’s Head Office is situated in Guildford, Surrey.  Our heritage and financial strength help make Allianz what it is today; a safe and trusted partner. Over 40 FTSE100 companies partner with Allianz.  youTalk-insurance sharing Allianz Insurance news and video

 

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