Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures can cause many problems for business owners. Exterior damage and leaks can be caused by snowfall, but property owners also have to be diligent about frozen pipes. In the event that a water pipe bursts, business owners can face damage costs as well as loss of income. New York City’s 21 Club recently faced damage after a pipe broke setting off fire sprinklers. The restaurant is currently closed for renovations and expects to reopen in March. Aside from renovation costs, the restaurant experienced a $3 million loss in artwork.

The Pollard Memorial Library in Lowell, Massachusetts, experienced flooding after a pipe burst and unloaded thousands of gallons of water into the building. The estimated cost of repair is $300,000. The city will have to cover the damages because their insurance policy has a $500,000 deductible.

In Texas, over 3,000 broken water pipe insurance claims are expected to be made by policyholders after they were hit with several days of below freezing temperatures. Typically, the pipes that are most likely to freeze are the water supply pipes found in unheated interior areas such as basements, cabinets, and attics.

Are you expecting a cold front? Here are some ways to protect your pipes from freezing:

  • Drain water from your swimming pool and sprinkler supply lines. These lines are directly exposed to dropping temperature and are likely to freeze.
  • Add insulation to unheated interior areas.
  • Consider installing pipe sleeves or heat tape to exposed water pipes.
  • Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate.
  • Let the water drip from the faucet when temperatures are extremely low.
  • Make sure the thermostat is always set above 55°F.

In case your pipes do freeze here are some ways to thaw frozen pipes:

  • Keep the faucet open. Once the pipe starts to thaw, this will help the water run through and thaw the pipes out quicker.
  • Apply heat to the pipe. Use a heating pad, hair dryer, or portable space heater to quickly thaw the pipe.
  • If you are unable to find the frozen pipe, call a licensed plumber.