Sandy, UT

Frozen pipe burst in Sandy

Roderick Boyd

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ceiling collapse in bedroomRoderick Boyd

A frozen sprinkler system main burst Thursday, November 17th. The incident occurred at Victoria Woods senior apartment building located at 617 E 9000 S in Sandy, Utah. Pressurized sprinkler systems can put out as much as 100 gallons per minute. Although early in the season, Salt Lake Valley water runs very cold. A significant amount of damage was sustained on all four floors and several residents have been displaced while repairs are completed. Management was not available for comment but has worked diligently to accommodate residents. It is prudent to take all necessary precautions to avoid water damage from freezing pipes.

Two Plans to Protect Pipes from Freezing From Zoro.Com

Strategy 1: Prevent Frozen Pipes with Pipe Maintenance

  • Know Your Building: Facility managers must know their buildings inside and out. Consult your building’s blueprints to locate pipes and shut-off valves within the entire infrastructure. 
  • Drain Unnecessary Pipes: Drain any water supply lines that are not necessary during the winter months, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Consider moving outdoor piping to prevent future problems. 
  • Secure Outdoor Hoses and Fixtures: Dismantle, drain, and store any outdoor hoses, valves, or faucets in a warm place for the winter months. Make sure any outdoor valves are closed. You may also protect outdoor faucets with faucet covers. 
  • Let Your Water Drip: Allowing water to drip from faucets that are connected to outdoor pipes can help reduce the risk of freezing pipes. 
  • Use Pipe Insulation​​​​​​​Prevent frozen pipes by insulating exposed pipes with pipe-insulating sleeves and/or heat tape. Insulating sleeves easily enclose your pipes, while heat tape monitors the pipe’s temperature. When its temperature nears freezing, the heat tape will engage to help prevent frozen pipes. Note: Never use heat tape on unexposed pipes that are behind walls or in ceilings. 

Strategy 2: Prevent Frozen Pipes with Building Maintenance

  • Insulate Pipes in Cold Spaces: Insulating pipes located in your building’s basement, attic, and crawl spaces can go a long way to prevent a disaster. These spaces are notoriously colder than frequently inhabited places and often fall off facility professionals’ radars. 
  • Prevent Drafts: Maintain a consistent temperature indoors by preventing drafts. Seal cracks and openings around windows and doors by using sealants or caulk. The same goes for your pipes. Seal any gaps in your pipes to keep cold air from seeping in. 
  • Keep Indoor Temperatures Steady: When outdoor temperatures take a dive, keep your building’s indoor temperature consistent day and night. If your building is vacant, don’t set the temperature any lower than 55°F.
  • Educate Your Employees: Your comprehensive emergency safety plan should include educating your employees on what to do if your pipes freeze and what to do if your pipes burst. 

The author was the lucky recipient of the worst damage with several thousand losses. Mr. Boyd has insurance, but the insurer has not been very helpful with the claim. A GoFundMe has been set up to help defray the costs of moving and cleaning up with excess funds going to assist other residents. Donations can be made at http://gofund.me/eb11654c

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Disabled senior Vietnam era veteran and former opinions columnist

Sandy, UT
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