"When it comes to the freeze hazard, it's the stuff that we can't see that's often of most concern," says Jay Cannon, manager of the SimZone at FM Global. The pipe behind the wall without adequate insulation. The sprinkler riser in the parking garage that stands unprotected where the water and air meet. These situations can compound under winter conditions and become major freeze losses.
"A power outage is a nuisance, but if building heat is lost consider that in winter any water in the pipes will freeze," Cannon explains. "It's not the freeze so much as the thaw when the pipe breaks and water gets released and you see it through the wall."
Likewise at risk are locations that are protected by dry sprinklers. "The areas near the dry pipe valve and air compressor need to be at least 40°F/3°C," he indicates. "This is especially important when the power is out or temperatures are below normal for more than a day."
Even geography plays a role in freeze loss. "Most people think about orange groves when frost hits locations like the southern United States," he says, "but there can be a lot of outdoor process equipment instrumentation that can freeze if not insulated sufficiently when temperatures fall below what is normal for that area."
Questions to ask:
- Do you have potential freeze exposures?
- If so, have you prepared to prevent freeze?
- How can you best minimize potential damage and impact to operations?
For further details about combatting freeze loss, consult FM Global's Freeze-Up Checklist.