It is no secret to anyone that winter brings below freezing temperatures and that with those freezing temperatures comes the potential for frozen pipes. The frozen pipes aren’t a challenge as we all know. The challenge is that the water in those pipes expands as it freezes and the pressure of that expansion cracks the pipes, breaks fittings, ruptures seals, etc. The end result is gushing water that can cause damage and further freeze damage. The question then is: What opportunity does this present?
Throughout the year your customers use water for a wide variety of reasons. They use it to clean, fill pools, wash cars, water lawns, etc. Very few of them think about the delivery system or the damage that can be caused due to age, temperature variations, etc. The opportunity presented to you as a retail establishment is that of educating the consumer and in doing so, demonstrate the need for them to purchase associated products.
First make sure the consumer understands that it’s not just hose spigots that can freeze and cause ruptured lines. Outside the home, swimming pool supply lines and water sprinkler lines (unless they are at least three feet underground) can freeze and rupture as well. Water lines in unheated interior areas of the home or business are vulnerable as well as pipes that run against exterior walls with little or poor insulation.
Second, educate the consumer in proper preparation methods such as turning off and draining the lines. They should be advised NOT to put antifreeze in any lines unless required as stated by a licensed plumber.
Third, counsel your consumer about various methods of storing the unused lines and hoses and how to better insulate those that may be at risk. This is where it pays to have an associate walk around the various departments with the consumer to show what’s being discussed and talk about the pros and cons of various solutions.
There are several products sold to help drain and store hoses, and many of them help to beautify the outward appearance of any home. Adding insulation to attics, basements, crawl spaces and garage areas will help maintain higher temperatures in those areas and thereby reduce potential for frozen pipes. If another viable solution isn’t available or if added water line protection is needed, a wide variety of pipe insulators and warmers are available as well. Your associate should be familiar with them and able to discuss installation with the consumer.
Educating your consumer presents an opportunity to sell additional products dependent on their goals. It does require a bit of a time investment on the part of your associate, but provided you are sufficiently staffed, that ultimately pays dividends.