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Avoid frozen pipes this winter

Avoid frozen pipes this winter

As we’ve just seen, the recent cold weather has led to freezing conditions. And falling temperatures can mean frozen pipes…which if they burst, can mean a lot of damage to your home. So avoid trouble and follow these tips.

Insulation is what you need

Keeping your pipes insulated is key to avoiding problems. And it’s not just pipes in your home, either. Make sure pipes in unheated areas, like your loft or garage, are insulated, too. Wrap them in soft foam or pipe lagging to protect them from the cold. If you notice any damage or weak spots, get them repaired straight away.

Keep the heating at 14°C

We’re all aware that the cost of heating our homes has jumped up. But it’s important to keep your heating running at a minimum of 14°C, especially if you’re going away. This should stop pipes from freezing and potentially bursting.

Protect your water tank

Insulate your water tank if it’s in the loft, or anywhere where it might freeze. This’ll prevent it from splitting or cracking which could lead to a leak. Any signs of wear and tear? Get it fixed, pronto.

And sort out your boiler

Check if your boiler has a frost protection setting. If it has, leaving it on can prevent the water in your pipes freezing. Make sure you get it serviced regularly, too. If you have a smart thermostat, you may be able to manage your heating using that instead.

What should I do if I think a pipe has frozen?

Keep calm and get to work to defrost it:

Turn off the stopcock to stop the water flow. Only turn it back on if you know the pipe isn’t damaged.

Wrap a hot damp cloth or an old hot water bottle around the pipe until water starts to flow again.

You could try an electric hair dryer or portable heater on a low setting to gently heat the pipe. But never leave it unattended.

And of course never use a naked flame like a blowtorch or boiling water for the job. Both of these could permanently damage the pipe, or even worse, start a fire.