As the classic song goes ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year…’ but the festive season can also be a worrying time for business owners. As the year comes to a close, we often see a fall in temperatures which can not only cause havoc on your bottom line it can also cause serious physical damage to your business premises.
Cold weather conditions can cause delays to supply chains and reduced footfall that can lead to all types of businesses from shops to cinemas to restaurants to miss out on valuable custom. The cold weather can also have a negative effect internally on a business, with frozen and burst pipes posing the risk of serious damage to your property and your takings.
Prepare your business for cold weather
It’s not all doom and gloom when the snow and ice hits. With a few simple precautions you can prepare your business for all that the cold weather brings. Here is some key advice Clear Business has put together with help of a few of our wholesalers United Utilities and South West Water:
- Check the weather
Ensure there are no surprises by keeping an eye on the weather forecast. The Met Office produce accurate reports for up to 30 days in advance so you can plan accordingly.
- Protect your pipes
By ensuring that all pipework is lagged, especially in exposed, cold or draughty places you can protect your pipes from freezing in low temperatures.
- Keep your heating on
Rather than turning off your central heating when you go home for the night, or on days you close, it’s best to leave your heating on a low setting.
- Time for a boiler service?
It’s a good time to have your boiler serviced to ensure that everything is running as it should, just when you’re about to need it the most.
- Don’t ignore repairs
Have you been pretending that drip, drip, drip isn’t there? Arrange the repair as soon as possible – even a trickle can lead to a frozen pipe.
- Monitor your water usage
Regularly check your water meter reading and give it to your provider to receive an accurate bill. Whilst you’re at it, keep an eye on your usage as any irregularities could mean you have an undetected leak.
- Have a contingency plan
Things go wrong, it happens. In the event of an emergency it’s important that you have a plan of action and one that will allow you to get back up and running as soon as possible. It’s useful to have the details of an approved water safe plumber in case of an emergency.
- Find your stop-tap
Locate your main stop-tap and check that is working correctly. You’ll need this in the event that a pipe bursts.
- All hands-on deck
Ensure all your colleagues have been briefed to keep an eye out for any issues with your pipework and that these are brought to your attention so you can put your plan into practice.
- The right insurance cover
You are responsible for any leaks and subsequent damage within your property. Check your business insurance covers you for damage caused by frozen or burst pipes. Our sister company The Insurance Octopus offers a wide range of business insurance should you wish to discuss your requirements.
Another of our wholesalers Bristol Water has put their top tips together in a simple infographic here for you to download and display in your business.
Health and Safety – It is also your responsibility as a business owner to provide a safe working environment for your colleagues as outlined in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This includes ensuring that all slip, trip and fall hazards are managed effectively, your working environment is suitable and that you provide the correct equipment for outside working. Comprehensive advice from the HSE can be found here.
Driving in severe conditions – It’s important to adjust your driving to the weather, no matter whether you are driving for work or leisure. For businesses that involve a lot of travel, make sure you and your colleagues have a read of this guide from the Met Office ahead of the cold snap.
It’s now time for you to put our top ten tips into practice and prepare your business for cold weather. A bit of preparation now will pay dividends if we do experience another Beast from the East – good luck!