CBIZ INNKEEPERS INSURANCE BLOG

Insights and tips on how to protect your inn or bed & breakfast, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
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Protect Your Inn from Freezing Pipes

Frozen pipes at inn

Frozen water pipes can be a major concern for inns during cooler months. Water damage is one of the leading issues policyholders report and results in some of the most expensive damages to repair. Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. Pipes that are exposed to extreme cold can burst when water expands; this includes outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in basements, attics and garages. That’s why it’s essential that your bed and breakfast’s pipes are adequately protected when temperatures drop.

Mitigation Tools to Avoid Frozen Pipes at Your Inn

One of the messiest and most costly repairs is fixing a burst frozen pipe. Water from a burst pipe can cause damage to carpeting, short out electrical appliances and ruin furniture. As such, consider utilizing the following products to help reduce your risk of experiencing a frozen pipe.

Spray Foam

This foam can be sprayed into the wall to fill cavities around pipes when the temperature cools. It will help insulate the walls and block airflow. If you utilize spray foam, make sure you also caulk exterior joints on the outside wall near the pipes.

Heat Tape

This tape can be plugged into a grounded outlet and spiral wrapped around pipes. Tapes have built-in thermostats that automatically turn on power when the temperature drops to near freezing. When the temperature rises, the power cuts off.

Valve Units

Valve units can be screwed onto faucets (usually outside) and prohibit water from passing through when temperatures are too low. The valve sensor detects low and high temperatures. When low temperatures are detected, the sensor opens a micro-valve to produce heat. As the temperature rises, the valve closes.

Steps to Take at Your Bed & Breakfast When Temperatures Drop

Generally, pipes that are exposed to frigid outdoor temperatures, such as hose bibs and water sprinkler lines, freeze more readily. Pipes that run along exterior walls with minimal insulation also tend to freeze more easily.

Regardless of where they’re located, frozen pipes can carry significant consequences, including property damage from your pipes bursting, flooding and the potential for disruption in the water supply. Here are additional steps you can take to keep your inn’s pipes from freezing when temperatures drop:

  • Insulate pipes in unheated interior areas, such as crawl spaces and attics.
  • Wrap pipes in heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warm air.
  • Seal any leaks with caulk or insulation.
  • Disconnect outdoor items, such as hoses and faucets. Shut off these items completely using an indoor valve and allow the excess water to drain out.
  • Trickle a little water out of your faucets periodically to keep water moving within the pipes.
  • Keep the garage door closed if there’s a water supply in there.
  • Don’t set your thermostat lower than 55°F when the property is unoccupied.

How to Respond to Frozen Pipes at Your Inn

If you turn on a faucet and either no water or a trickle comes out, your pipes may be frozen. Turn off the main water valve and keep the faucet on. Apply heat to the pipe by using an electric heating pad, hair dryer or portable space heater, or by wrapping the pipe in towels soaked in hot water. You should apply heat until you regain water pressure. If this does not solve the problem, contact a licensed plumber to inspect your pipes.

Freeze The Day with CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance

Oh, the weather outside may become frightful and elevate risks with snow buildup, ice-covered tree limbs, icy walkways and freezing pipes. Those risks lead to increased property damage and liability claims. Don’t think ice about it this season! Cold weather? That’s snow problem with CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance. For additional safety guidance and insurance solutions for your inn business, connect with a member of our team.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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