Caught out by winter again? Preventative measures cost 3-5 times less than an emergency cure!

FrostguardWinter Safety solutions in buildings have been tested to the limit in the UK’s recent “Cold Snap “and many have failed the test! Water authorities have received emergency call from customers with frozen and burst water pipes.

Heating companies have received thousands of call-out requests to defrost outlet pipes from condensing boilers, and heat tracing suppliers have been called to provide solutions to the almost annual problem of ice and freezing temperatures. But the message remains the same: Prevention is better than cure!

Preventative measures
Building designers and owners can’t afford to ignore the ever increasing cost of building damage and personal injury liability associated with winter weather conditions. Burst pipes, roof damage due to snow and ice, property or stock damage from melting ice, condensing boiler/heating system shutdown due to iced-up condensate pipe, and building access problems due to snow have been sharply brought into focus over the past few years. This coupled with personal injury claims means that the cost of inaction is far higher than the cost of action.

Frost protection and ice and snow prevention solutions should be designed specifically with winter safety in mind. Smart solutions ensure that building services, such as chilled water pipe work, are maintained unfrozen and that roofs, gutters, and drainage pipes are kept clear of ice and snow. In addition to these vital building functions, ground surface heating systems ensure that critical access ways, fire escapes, delivery bays, footpaths and building entrances are kept clear of ice and snow, greatly reducing the risk of personal injury claims or delays to business activities. All of this is delivered with systems and controls which deliver optimum performance whilst ensuring energy efficiency.

Pentair Thermal Management's Raychem heating products include:
•    Self-regulating pipe frost protection systems
•    Self-regulating frost protection systems for sprinklers
•    Snow and Ice prevention systems for roofs, gutters, and drainpipes.
•    Ground, ramp, and access way snow & Ice melting systems

All these products are controlled by system-specific control and monitoring solutions which optimise system performance, reduce energy consumption, and in many cases, provide useful user information. In addition to the smart control range, the company also delivers complete electrical and control panel solutions comprising electrical safety devices for heating circuits, easy connection to smart control, and the potential for connection to building control for alarm purposes.

Pentair Thermal Management’s European Product Manager, Jonathan Jones, comments, “Buildings have become living things and are sensitive to severe weather just as we are. Without the correct precautions, buildings are victims of the cold weather which can often affect their performance.”

Electrical engineers and contractors must become familiar with and advocates of such winter safety solutions, not just as solutions for new building projects, but also for the existing building stock.

These days most manufacturers and specialist distributors can provide a wealth of system specification and design support tools to enable electricians to install and commission systems with confidence and ease.

Emergency Systems    
Preventative measures are the best solution but what can be done if pipes freeze? There are products that will defrost frozen pipes and guard against frost., such a frost guard solution which has a ready-made kit with a plug so users only need attach the heater cable to the pipe.

When it comes to condensate pipes from condensing boilers, kitted solutions are commonly used and recommended by industry bodies such as the Heating and Hot water Industry Council (HHIC) as well as boiler manufacturers.

Inaction is not an option
Whether considering winter safety solutions for an upcoming installation project or working through a current emergency, it is without doubt far more cost effective to prevent a problem than to cure one. In fact the typical preventative measures cost 3-5 times less than an emergency cure (and possibly significantly more if pipes burst or personal injury litigation occurs.) Don’t get caught out – winter proof your building today!

As part of its excellent customer service program, Raychem has launched a new web page which guides users through ’winter proofing’ a building with a link to claim a free winter audit

Tags: Pentair Thermal Management, Heating News, electrical industry news,