Commercial properties may often be unoccupied during the winter months. In many cases, these sites have had their HVAC infrastructure removed or have HVAC units that are non-functional.

They may have been removed by the previous tenant or a contractor to convert the space to its vanilla shell for a new potential tenant.

Abandoned HVAC Equipment

Sometimes HVAC equipment that has been left by the previous tenant has been abandoned due to age and/or mechanical failure. Previous tenants will take the gas utilities out of their name, and may not always put the gas utilities back into the landlords’ name. This can cause a significant delay in turning the gas back on.

Sprinkler Systems in Commercial Properties

One thing that always remains in place is the sprinkler system. Often times the sprinkler system is a wet pipe commercial sprinkler system, which means the system is made up of overhead piping filled with water under pressure.

Once a fire occurs, it will activate the sprinkler heads and cause a discharge of water.

What happens if there is no heat during the winter while the wet sprinkler system is under pressure and active?

As we know, cold water expands and can cause a pipe to burst. If this occurs there will be significant water damage occurring in this unoccupied space and it will most likely spread into occupied spaces.

Preventative Measures

We work with property maintenance groups who will place a few of our electric heaters in the vacant space to keep the temperature regulated above 38 degrees where potential freezing of the pipes can occur. This is due to the potential of the cold concrete further cooling the air temperature and in turn freezing the pipes.

Which Heaters Are Best For This Scenario?

15kw, 208V 3Ph heaters are typically the heater of choice to be placed in these spaces. These heaters are controlled by a built-in thermostat.

We provide these customers with 25’ of 6/4 SOOW cable to connect the heater to the electrical panel.

In these cases, units are placed from October until the end of March/early May to ensure a temperature-controlled space remains free of any broken water pipes.

Looking for more information? Contact OnSite HVAC Rentals today to learn more about regulating the temperature of a commercial property to prevent freezing pipes.