Six cold weather events since 2009 have each caused over $1 billion in property damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Three of them occurred in the last two years, accounting for almost half of the $10 billion dollars lost over the past decade due to freezing temperatures. And while those in some areas of the country may think they’re safe from these havoc-inducing wintry episodes, all 50 states have experienced below freezing temperatures in recent years.
Identifying the Risk in Your Building
Water damage from ruptured pipes is a huge contributor to these losses. Freezing temperatures cause pipes to leak or rupture. There are a number of strategies to help reduce the risk of pipes freezing and bursting, but a great place to start is identifying the cold areas in your property. One way to acquire that knowledge is conducting inspections called infrared surveys. An infrared survey, using a thermal camera, can help identify air drafts, missing insulation, and other areas vulnerable to exterior freezing temperatures. The camera can produce digital photos or video with thermal readings, allowing you to see temperature differences in real time. Action can then be taken to protect areas where cold spots appear, such as adding insulation or providing heat.
Additional information regarding thermographic inspections can be found on the Energy.gov website, including how to locate a professional who can assist with these surveys. Organizations can also perform these inspections in-house by purchasing a thermal camera and learning to operate it. Thermal cameras range in price from a few thousand dollars to FLIR’s FLIR One Pro Smartphone camera which sells for $399.99.
Taking Action to Prevent Pipe Freeze
Resources for Before and After Pipes Freeze
Winter Weather Resources
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