When temperatures drop, the Ocean City Fire Department responds to numerous calls for frozen pipes, not only in residential properties but in commercial properties as well. This year, the Ocean City Fire Department is reminding citizens and property owners to follow simple maintenance tips to ensure that fire sprinklers and domestic pipes do not freeze and break due to recent dip in temperatures.
“Frozen pipes can cause thousands of dollars in water damage as well as rendering fire sprinkler systems inoperable,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley. “Maintaining wet pipes above freezing are a key concern. Domestic water pipes can be insulated or wrapped with an approved UL listed heat tape. In the event that a unit is unoccupied for the winter season, domestic water pipes can also be drained.”
Wet sprinkler systems, however, usually cannot be wrapped with a heat tape. All sprinklered areas of a building should be checked to make sure they are above freezing. Setting a unit thermostat to keep pipes around 40 degrees fahrenheit will help prevent these pipes from freezing. With regard to dry sprinkler systems, auxiliary condensate drains should be drained by a licensed sprinkler company or person knowledgeable about sprinkler systems.
Finally, emergency contact numbers should be posted on the outside of the building, which can help the fire department contact responsible parties in the event of a pipe break. Also, key lock boxes, which can be purchased from the fire department headquarters at 15th Street, can allow access into a building in the event of an emergency to allow firefighters to turn off water mains and minimize damage within units.
For more information on precautionary measures to take to prevent pipe breaks, contact the Ocean City Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal at 410-289-8780.