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Posted on: 16th January 2019

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

frozen 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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