During construction projects, frozen pipes are a major concern. Partially-removed insulation exposes more plumbing to the elements, and when these pipes burst they can add time, cost and arduous rework to a project.
Prevent this major setback from happening to you by following these six tips for how to prevent frozen pipes during construction:
6 Tips on How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Seal the Deal
One major cause of burst pipes during construction is the removal of the insulating barriers that once protected the pipes. By cutting a hole in the roof or renovating an entire wing of a building, you are exposing interiors to falling temperatures.
Prevent this problem by having a way to completely seal off project areas at the end of the day. Do not simply resort to plastic tarps or plywood, either. You can hang insulating blankets on interior faces or spread straw on exterior surfaces to help provide some sort of insulating barrier to the elements. In major projects that will go on throughout winter, a temporary structure may need to be built that prevents indoor temperatures from dropping.
Drain It All
If you are working in an area of a building that will not be occupied, the safest tactic is to completely drain the pipes before freezing temperatures start hitting. This approach will remove nearly any risk of freezing or bursting. You can go the extra mile by having the pipes blown out to ensure that no residual moisture remains.
Keep the Heat On
If you have a safe method of keeping your work site heated, you can warm up enclosed areas to protect plumbing. Naturally, this tactic can present a fire hazard when resorting to space heaters, so stick to safer methods like central heat or radiating heaters.
Wrap It Up
Pipe insulation can be cheaply and quickly installed, especially when using temporary approaches. Wrap all pipes located within an area that will see temperature drops, and consider doubling down with cloth-style insulation to form an extra barrier on top of the foam.
Insulation can also be added to the wall or general area in which the vulnerable pipes reside. A few blocks of insulating foam can make a huge difference compared to exposed pipes.
Let It Drip
Dripping is the most common method homeowners use to prevent pressure buildup in frozen pipes. Your construction firm can use it as well, but be conscious of where the drained water goes. The drips may prevent freezing in the pipes, but can create hazardous or damaging ice flows elsewhere.
Prioritize Exterior Pipes
Naturally, the pipes exposed closest to the building’s exterior will be the ones you want to focus on most readily when trying to prevent freezes. You can wrap exterior pipes in extra insulating layers in addition to shutting them off.
Beware of the travel of cold across materials like metal, as well. Steel beams exposed to outside, for instance, can carry cold temperatures along their length and freeze any pipes they make contact with.
There’s Never One Strategy for How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Based on the unique conditions of your site, you will likely need to use one or more of these methods in combination to reduce the risk of burst pipes and water damage. Consult your firm’s engineers to double check any suspicions you may have about which pipes are most at risk.
Also, be sure that you have the needed amount of liability coverage to protect from the costs should a frozen pipe burst. One incident can cost your firm thousands or more without the right type of contractor’s liability coverage.