To help take the worry away and prevent needing to call out an emergency plumber, here is some simple guidance on how to protect your home this winter and reduce the amount of heat that’s lost – saving energy and money.
Winter wise wins
Cover any external pipes – covering or ‘lagging’ your external pipework with foam tubes will help stop them freezing. Look online or ask at your local DIY store for the best buys (remember to check for external pipes on your appliances that uses water such as your washing machine, boiler, or dishwasher, and any outbuildings such as a garage, shed or loft.)
Protect any outside taps – keep your outside taps snug by covering them with an old towel or T-shirt secured with duct tape or an insulated tap cover. Remember to remove any hoses attached to them.
Find your stop tap – it’s usually under your kitchen sink. Make sure you know where yours is (and that you can turn it) in case you need to turn your water off in a hurry.
Use the frost setting on your central heating – or, if you can, leave it on very low when you’re out or away.
Remember to bleed your radiators – this means they’ll work at their best and heat the room evenly.
Keep your water tank warm – you can buy a jacket from your local DIY store to fit over the top to help insulate (remember not to insulate the base).
Fix any dripping taps – this stops water build up from freezing.
Check your water meter – the pipes leading to and from it need to be insulated, and make sure that the cupboard is packed with insulation material with the door firmly shut.
Try and stop draughts – cold air from outside freezes the pipes inside, so cover any gaps in doors and windows
Let warm air flow – perhaps open your loft hatch to help keep pipes and tanks up there from freezing.
And don’t worry if the worst happens and your pipes do freeze or burst, here is some step by step advice here to help you get it sorted.
If you have no water and think this is due to a frozen pipe, check to see if there are any signs of the pipe splitting or any other damage and if you find anything, call a plumber. You can always use WaterSafe to find an approved plumber working in your area.
- Stop the supply
Turn off the main stop tap – it should be in the cupboard under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe comes into your home.
- Be prepared
While the pipe is still frozen you have time to protect everything around it from water damage in case the pipe leaks when it is thawed out. So, take this time to move everything away from the pipe.
- Thawing out
Open the tap nearest to the part of the pipe you think is frozen so the water can flow out when the ice has melted. Thaw the pipe with a hot water bottle or hairdryer (taking care to keep the dryer well away from any water), beginning from the tap end and working back toward the cold-water tank. Never use a heat gun or blow torch.