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Posted on: 16th January 2019

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Keep your cool and follow simple tips to avoid frozen and burst pipes

AT this time of year, the weather can play havoc with our homes – not least when it comes to the big freeze which can burst water pipes and create a whole lot of unwanted misery.

However, forget the winter woes, there are some tricks of the trade which home owners can adapt to minimise the impact.

Water tanks and pipes: 

  • Make sure they are properly insulated (lagging material is available from most DIY stores if you want to give it a go yourself). Ensure there are no gaps at bends, valves or fittings.
  • Pay special attention to water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like loft spaces and garages, and check insulation in any property likely to be unoccupied for long periods.
  • Fix dripping taps at the first sight as even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe.
  • Find your property’s internal stopcock or valve and make sure you can turn it off if necessary. Most stopcocks are fitted under the kitchen sink and close by turning clockwise.
  • Check your boiler has been serviced.
  • Minimise draughts from outside and close doors and windows to unheated parts of the property.
  • If you have tanks or pipes in the roof space, open the loft hatch to allow warm air to circulate.
  • Leave the heating on low when you are away and get a friend or neighbour to check the property regularly. 

What to do if a pipe freezes: 

  • Turn off the water supply at the stopcock.
  • Check to see if the pipe has burst.
  • Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end nearest the tap.
  • You can also use a hair-dryer (lowest setting) but NOT a naked flame or blowlamp.
  • Remember: don’t leave taps dripping or running as the water may not drain down the plughole if the pipe below is frozen. 

What to do if the pipe bursts: 

  • Turn off the water supply at the stopcock.
  • Open all taps to reduce flooding.
  • Soak up/block off escaping water with thick towels.
  • Call a qualified plumber. 

Click on the Home button of this website to find a recommended and qualified plumber in your area.

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