Cold weather is here! While firing up the equipment in the kitchen makes it feel cozy and warm, there are several locations in the building where your pipes are at risk of freezing. Part of the energy saving plan for your restaurant includes water maintenance during winter.
Frozen Pipes Cost Money
The cost of repairing burst pipes can be astronomical. Without running water, your local health department has no choice but to insist you lock your doors and cease operations.
Why Do Pipes Burst?
Water expands by approximately 9 percent when it freezes. This causes blocked pipes and a buildup in pressure, forcing the pipe to split. It can happen in any system that brings water inside and in drainage pipes that carry it outside. It can be disastrous to equipment connected to water lines, such as water heaters and ice machines.
Cold Weather Water Maintenance
There are general precautions you can take to protect your pipes and reduce their exposure to the cold:
- Set the thermostat to maintain a consistent temperature, day and night.
- Provide heat in areas that are normally unheated, such as the basement, storage and receiving areas.
- Fill gaps around openings in exterior walls with expanding foam insulation.
- Cover exterior pipes and indoor pipes that run along exterior walls with insulating sleeves or “heat tape”.
- Insulate water lines leading into water heaters, beverage machines, and ice machines.Place covers on outdoor faucets and insulation around exterior valves.
- Make sure water-saving toilets are being flushed sufficiently to prevent blockage.Allow for space under supplies and equipment, permitting adequate air flow.
- Keep exterior doors and windows closed.During extreme cold, open the faucets to a slow drip overnight.
- Increase the amount of insulation in the walls and ceiling.Ensure your HVAC and heating system is in good working order.
Protecting Restaurant Equipment and Interior Systems
Due to the nature of your business, your restaurant is equipped with specific types of machinery and systems that contain food, prevent contamination, and serve to protect your staff and patrons. Where applicable, you can invest in foam insulation, heat tape or thermostatic relief kits.
Look for potential problems in these places:
- Fire sprinkler systems
- Condensate pipes from boilers, walk-in coolers, and ice machines.
- Water softeners
- Backflow preventers
- Dishwashing equipment
- Steam tables
Be Prepared for Water Emergencies
Sometimes a drop in temperature can be so sudden and severe that pipes burst regardless of preventative measures. By taking immediate action, you can help to mitigate the damage. Make sure your staff knows the location of the main water shutoff valve. Keep a few space heaters on hand as a backup. Post the emergency number to your plumber somewhere accessible.
As industry experts and consultants specializing in lowering energy bills for restaurants, we know that energy usage is an important factor in your daily operations. Contact GWT2Energy today to learn more water maintenance tips to take you safely through the winter months.