Frozen Pipes and Wrapping Up For Winter
We all take our water supply for granted. But if your home or business suffers a burst pipe this winter, you could be left with no water and a hefty bill to repair the damage to your property.
All pipework within your home or business boundary is your responsibility, so it really is worth protecting it properly to avoid serious problems during cold weather. Further down there is some essential information to help protect your property from burst pipes.
If you do not have any water, before ringing us, check whether your neighbour’s supplies are also affected. If they are not, then the odds are that your pipes are frozen and the lack of supply is not caused by a burst water main out on the road. If your pipes are frozen then the following advice may help.
If a Pipe Freezes
- Turn off the water supply at the stopcock.
- Check to see if the pipe has burst.
- Open the affected tap. Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end nearest the tap.
- Never use a naked flame, hair-dryer or blowtorch to thaw the pipe.
- Don’t leave taps dripping or running as the water may not drain down the plughole if the pipe below is frozen.
If a Pipe Bursts
- Turn off the stopcock and boiler.
- Open all taps to drain the system quickly.
- Soak up/block off escaping water with thick towels.
- Call a qualified plumber. Local water industry recommended plumbers can be found at www.wras.co.uk/WIAPS.
- If water has leaked near your electrics or into any electrical appliances, switch them off at the mains.
- Turn off taps once pipework is repaired to avoid further flooding.
Why not be proactive and safeguard your bank balance and water supply by following these simple steps to protect your pipework this winter.
Avoiding Frozen Pipes
- Insulate water tanks and lag pipes (lagging material is available from all good DIY stores). Make sure 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 – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe.
- Find your property’s internal stopcock 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.
- Leave the heating on low when you are away and get a friend or neighbour to check the property regularly.
- If a property (such as an office or school) is going to be unoccupied for long periods, turn off the water at the stopcock and consider draining down the system so there is no water left in the pipes.
- Keep a separate supply of drinking water for emergencies.
From health to heating... Where to find other useful information
Wrapping up for winter isn’t just about your pipework. It’s also about making sure you and your family are ready for the cold weather – and that’s where the Government’s Get Ready for Winter initiative comes in. Go to www.directgov.org.uk and you’ll find a mine of practical information to help you survive the winter months. From essential tips on winter motoring to finding out what benefits and allowances you can claim to meet heating costs, it’s all there, along with useful links to many other organisations. Please click here for a leaflet on 'Wrapping Up For Winter'.