Winter is here and Jack Frost isn’t just nipping at your toes. Bitter frozen spells in the past couple of years have sent shivers across the country and can cause havoc for small businesses affected by frozen or burst pipes. To ensure you’re not caught out at work by the cold weather here are a few tips.

First, as everyone who wants to avoid a winter flu knows, prevention is better than cure, so it’s worth taking a few precautionary measures to help protect your pipes:

  • Try to get your boiler “MOT’d” every year, particularly if you’ve inherited an old system from the previous owners of your office or workshop
  • Make sure that water pipes in loft spaces are fully lagged
  • Know the location of the stopcock and how to turn it off if your pipes freeze
  • Ask your landlord about insulation for pipes, water tanks and cisterns, especially in unheated areas like lofts, outbuildings and under floor spaces
  • If you turn on a tap and no water comes out turn off the water supply and call a plumber immediately. Don’t take any chances!
  • When very cold weather is forecast, think about switching your heating system on round the clock until the icy snap ends.

Your workplace will probably be unoccupied for at least a few days over Christmas, so it’s worth doing a couple of things to make sure you don’t return in the New Year to a flooded office:

  • Keep the heating switched on at a low temperature to prevent your pipes from freezing; or turn off the water supply and drain the taps completely to prevent a burst pipe
  • If your office or workshop has a loft space then keep the hatch door open slightly to let heat in to help prevent pipes from freezing
  • If members of staff plan to pop into work over the holidays, ask them to test if the taps are running water. If they’re dry that’s often a sign your pipes are frozen. In which case have them contact you or the person designated to be on call over the holidays and call a plumber right away