Cold winter weather can cause plumbing pipes to freeze and – possibly – crack or burst, causing misery, with significant and distressing flooding and costly water damage to your home.
Taking preventative measures before winter sets in can reduce or eliminate the risk of frozen pipes, other cold-weather threats and the need for an emergency plumber. Be aware that all the pipework within the boundary of your home or business is your responsibility. Take a few sensible precautions when the winter months are coming…
- Check that you know where your internal stopcock is located – this is usually under the kitchen sink or in the downstairs cloakroom.
- Insulating/lagging of any exposed pipes connecting your boiler and hot water cylinder will reduce heat loss, especially on pipes that run outside.
- Ensure pipes, cisterns and tanks in unheated areas such as lofts are also lagged. Foam insulation is easy to install yourself and costs under £2 per meter. Simply choose the correct size in 22mm or 28mm, cut to the desired length, and slip around the pipework.
- Repair dripping taps now – even a small trickle can result in frozen pipes.
If a pipe bursts, turn off the water and the central heating. Open all taps to drain the system – but remember to close them before the water is turned on! If water has leaked onto or nearby any electrical appliances, switch them off at the mains.
If a pipe freezes, check to see if it has burst. Open the affected tap and slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a hot wet towel. Never use a hairdryer or naked flame to thaw the pipe.