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Business How To: PREPARE FOR FREEZING TEMPS by Don Stewart, Vice President, Averus Fire Division

Winter brings a whole list of challenges to operations, here is our Averus business how to: prepare for freezing temps! First, preventative work spares major expenses, true in almost every scenario, but when temperatures drop below freezing the consequences of being unprepared grow exponentially! These tips are especially important if you have a sprinkler system.

  1. Buy expanding foam insulation and adhesive door seals
  2. Ensure outside vents are closed
  3. Turn power on to heaters, especially those located near sprinkler drain pipes, utility pipes for gas/electric, sewer drains, back flows, sinks or other plumbing near overhead or doors used for shipments/deliveries.  If using a gas heater, ensure pilots are re-lit and thermostats set.
  4. Look for openings that pass to the exterior and seal, small holes are easily filled with expanding foam.  Pipes that penetrate to the exterior (sprinkler drain, utility: sewer, gas, electric) can also be sealed with foam.
  5. Check for cracks along outside walls.  Cracks less than half an inch wide can be sealed with foam insulation, for larger cracks the solution may be for repair or rebuilding of the surrounding structure to properly cover.
  6. Turn domestic and irrigation water supplies off in areas that are not heated.
  7. Check overhead and man doors.  New adhesive door gaskets can save far more than their cost in heating bills and will assist with keeping piping from freezing inside the building.
  8. When drop ceilings are in use, remove a few tiles to let the heat into the ceiling area to keep sprinklers and other piping from freezing.
  9. During extreme cold it is advisable, where practical, to open doors to mechanical rooms, sprinkler riser rooms, phone switch gear rooms, as well as IT rooms.
  10. Whenever possible limit the use of exterior doors that do not have a foyer or break, such as overhead doors, rear delivers and side doors; when necessary to keep these areas open, shut adjacent doors to limit heat loss until the doors are closed.   If possible use portable heaters in this area.
  11. Reprogram thermostats.  If there is one time not to micromanage your heating, it is during extreme cold or cold with extreme wind!
  12. Invest in an infrared digital thermometer!  This will allow you to aim the thermometer at sprinkler heads and piping above you or behind larger furniture or appliances to obtain the temperature of that item.  You may be surprised that while your room is at a comfortable 70 degrees, the sprinkler near the window may be frightening close to freezing.

Taking steps ahead of issues is an important part of preventing damages and costly repairs.  A single broken pipe can exceed thousands of dollars to repair, not to mention the water damage to items in its path.  Sealing holes and reducing heat loss in any way possible will lead to negligible savings, but it substantially lowers the potential for expensive repairs and lost production.

We hope you found our Business How To: Prepare for Freezing Tips helpful, feel free to share tips on our Averus Facebook page and if you have any requests for future How To’s, please let us know at  

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