Property damage on your holiday park caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes to other equipment can be extremely costly in both repairs and disruption to business. To help you reduce the risk of damage, we have outlined some practical steps you can take now and throughout the winter months.
- Ensure that all areas containing pipes and water storage tanks are heated to help prevent freezing.
- Heating should be thermostatically controlled to maintain a minimum temperature.
- Fuel supplies and any associated equipment should be periodically tested and maintained. This is particularly critical where ‘interruptible’ gas supplies are used.
- Pipes should be adequately lagged to delay the temperature drop. Thick, good quality, non-combustible lagging should be securely fixed to all piping, including expansion pipes.
- Tanks should be lagged around and over, but not underneath, so that heat from below can rise.
- Minimise pipe-runs outside or in areas exposed to winds.
- Wet pipe sprinkler systems should be avoided where the temperature cannot be kept above 4°C. The use of alternate or dry pipe systems should be considered.
- Park management and maintenance staff should know the location of all stopcocks inside the premises as well as the main incoming valve(s) to the park. The stopcocks should be periodically exercised to ensure that they are in working order.
- A nominated person or persons should be responsible for any sprinkler system, its water supply and pump room. Ensure that buildings are inspected to identify frozen or leaking pipes at an early stage.
- Review and update emergency contact procedures.
The responsible staff should know how to thaw frozen pipes safely:
- Isolate the pipe by closing the stopcock on the feed from the tank or main.
- Expect a thawed pipe to leak water, so protect items beneath it.
- Use hot water bottles or a hair dryer to thaw the pipe—DO NOT use blow torches, hot air paint strippers or naked flames.
- Ensure all building areas are maintained at a minimum temperature of 4°C.
- Check all drainage channels (downspouts/gutters, etc.) are clear of debris.
- Monitor the temperature of all rooms and spaces, and ensure heat can be applied safely to these areas if needed.
Protection of equipment
- Safeguard all boilers against freezing. Any idle boilers should be drained down by a qualified plumber.
- Locate and ensure operability of the master shut-off valve controlling water supplies to the park buildings.
- Protect sprinkler systems to make these winter-safe, particularly in cold areas (attics, lofts, etc.). These should be at 4°C or higher.
Common or unoccupied areas
- The precautions described previously apply equally to common and unoccupied areas of the park. These can be particularly vulnerable as problems may not be identified until damage has occurred.
- Regular inspections of these areas should be carried out before and during cold weather.
- If a tenant is still responsible for an unoccupied area, ensure that they are inspecting these areas and taking the precautions described above.
- Consider the provision of heating to any unheated portions of the building if they may be vulnerable. The use of minimum and maximum thermometers can indicate potential problems.
Holiday homes unoccupied for more than 72 hours
- At this time of year it is important that all holiday homes should be fully drained down when the park is officially closed.
- For anytime that the park remains officially open then a mini drain down should be carried out when the holiday home is not in use:
- Turn the stopcock off.
- Sinks and plug holes must be left unobstructed.
- Ensure all water taps are left open/on, plugs are removed from plugholes, and water is emptied from cistern and sinks/showers/bath.
Otherwise, a full central heating system should be set to operate daily and overnight.
- Monitor at least daily cold temperatures and forecasts.
- Monitor the amount of snow on the roof and clear it before accumulations reach unsafe levels. Engage specialist companies to perform this task if necessary.
- Establish a monitoring function during the winter months and identify a responsible person to undertake this task.
- Drain all equipment that carries water or is susceptible to freezing in all vacant areas or those that have a history of freezing.
- For unattended buildings, consider providing a supervised alarm system to monitor power supply and building temperatures.
- Consider draining the water system of any buildings in the park that will be unoccupied for a prolonged period.
- Consideration should be given to how ice-plugged pipes will be thawed (e.g. hot air blowers.) DO NOT expose pipes to open or naked flames.
If you would like to speak to us about any of the information we have outlined here or any other aspect of your business or insurance needs, please contact our team on 01452 801 703.