After such a hot summer and mild autumn, it may seem unnecessary to think about the problems that freezing winter weather can bring. But frozen pipes can result in burst pipes, and without water, your business may not even be able to stay open. As any good scout will tell you, it’s always best to ‘be prepared’.

In fact, by preparing for the worst, you can’t lose! If the temperature does drop below zero, the likelihood is that your business won’t be affected by it. And if we have a mild winter, you’ll still be prepared to deal with a burst pipe or unexpected loss of water, which could happen at any time. Preparing for a cold winter won’t take a huge amount of your time, and every step you take now will be helping you safeguard your business.

What is Winter Water WISE?

Click here to download our handy Winter Water WISE guide, which includes an essential winter checklist to keep your water running through a cold snap. It’s free to download, and we won’t ask you for any details. In this instance, WISE stands for:

  • Warm
  • Insulate
  • Safeguard
  • Emergency plan


If your business premises are kept at a temperature warmer than 0oC, your water pipes will not freeze. It therefore makes sense to keep the heating on low, even if your building’s empty. Of course, in the current economic climate, you need to be careful when it comes to heating bills, and that’s why you need to check your insulation.


By insulating your pipes, you’ll protect them from freezing conditions and keep the water flowing. It’s likely that you already have pipe insulation but be aware that after a few years it will begin to degrade and lose its effectiveness. It’s therefore important to check that all the pipe insulation in your building is still fit for purpose and replace it if it isn’t. It’s the same when it comes to insulating any hot water tanks on your premises. If your hot water tank already has a jacket, check that its thickness is at least 80mm. If not, it’s time to replace it.


You can safeguard your water by doing a few checks now. If you have any dripping taps or small leaks, get them repaired as soon as possible - dripping water increases the chances of a pipe freezing. In addition, you can reduce the chances of cold air getting into the building and lowering the temperature by fixing draught excluders to windows and doors. They will also help lower your heating bill.

Finally, check your business insurance to make sure you are covered if there is a burst pipe. Check if the insurance also covers the cost of any lost business that might occur if you have to close the premises following such an emergency.

In the event of an emergency…

Do you know what to do in the event of a burst pipe? Rather than wait until it happens, collect all the information you need now as part of your emergency plan. Do you know where your stopcock is, for example, and how to turn it off? If not, find out now. And if a burst pipe has caused a flood in your building, do you know where your heating control and the electricity mains are, and how to turn them off? By finding out now, you’ll be able to deal with an emergency situation more quickly and with a lot less stress.

It’s also a good idea to set up a file with the emergency contact numbers of your water company and local emergency plumbers so you have that information to hand should you need it.

And if your business depends on water, think about a contingency supply. Planning ahead for deliveries of emergency water could mean the difference between keeping the business running and having to close it while you sort the emergency out.