How to protect your pipes from freezing and bursting
The last thing you want on a winter’s morning is to wake up to a freezing home. The reason- your pipes have frozen overnight. UK’s winters might not be as severe as in other parts of the world, but the danger of frozen pipes should not be overlooked.
On the contrary, burst pipes are a more common problem in countries which experience milder winters. The reason is simple- pipes are often not insulated appropriately or are even placed on the outside of the house.
To avoid walking on thin ice this winter, it’s of upmost importance to prepare your plumbing system for the cold. It’s simple, just follow these steps and you’ll avoid a battle with Jack Frost:
Exposed water pipes and tanks should be insulated
Seal any gaps where pipes run through walls or floors. Can you feel cold air coming in through somewhere? It’s time to get working.
Allow your faucet to drip
If your taps are served by an exposed pipe, a small trickle can, in fact, release the pressure in your pipes. The reason cold pipes burst, is because the freezing water in them expands and increases the pressure inside. Once the pressure is too high, the pipe bursts. If you’re worried about the cost, just remember that fixing a cracked pipe is much more costly than letting the faucet drip.
Service your boiler regularly.
If heat can go through the pipes, they are a lot less likely to freeze. It is advisory to book your boiler service for the summer, so your boiler is ready and working for the cold months.
Locate your internal stopcock.
Stopcock is the control tap for the water, supplied to your property. You’ll need to turn it off, if you end up with a burst pipe. In the usual case, your stopcock will be located under the kitchen sink, and you’ll need to turn it clockwise to stop the water flow to your house. Don’t hesitate to ask a neighbour, if you can’t locate it; stopcocks are usually located in the same place in similar properties.
Leave your heating on low, if you’re going on a holiday
This is a good practice, because it will keep heat circulating through the pipes, which will stop them from freezing. Make sure to ask a neighbour or a friend to pay regular visits to your property. In the unfortunate situation of a frozen pipe, the sooner you act, the more damage you’ll prevent.
If your pipes end up freezing after all, follow these steps:
- Don’t apply any heat before you check if the pipe has burst.
- Once you’ve deemed that the pipe is not dangerous you can start warming it up. Soak a towel in hot water and carefully wrap it around the pipe, starting with the end closer to the tap. You can pour hot water over the frozen area, but NOT BOILING.
- Grab your phone and call an expert. To ensure that no further damage is done to the pipes, you’ll need to trust a professional. Fortunately your Care Club membership has you covered, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.
DON’T EVER DO THIS:
- Apply heat directly to the pipes. This can lead to a fire accident and cause unfixable damage to the pipes.
- Attempt to strike the pipes. While you might break the ice, there’s no guarantee that the pipe won’t be damaged in the process. Try to strike the pipes. You risk not only breaking the ice but the pipe as well.