Get Your Pipes Ready for Winter

Your plumbing is vulnerable to cold temperatures in winter. The last thing you want when you return home after a short spell away is to find that your pipes have burst and caused water damage to your property. This can happen when the icy cold weather freezes the water inside your plumbing, causing it to expand then split and break. To avoid emergency plumbing repairs, there are some things you can do to prepare for the winter.

Take the following inexpensive precautions to protect your plumbing and you could prevent a tiresome situation when you need to call out an emergency plumber:

1. Protect exterior water faucets by covering them up.
2. Use foam insulation to wrap up any exposed water pipes.
3. Keep your heating on. Make sure that the temperature doesn’t drop below 40 degrees. If possible, set your heating at 60 degrees. The constant heat will ensure that the water in your pipes don’t freeze up. This could be worth it in the end, as you’ll not only have a cosy house during the cold winter months, you’ll also save money on emergency plumbing repairs.
4. Water freezes more easily if the water’s left standing. To prevent this, you could try turning the taps in your bathroom to a slow drip overnight.
5. Check your loft. The insulation on your pipes and tanks should be fully intact. If it is damaged or too thin, replace it immediately.
6. If your loft is too well-insulated, it will get cold very quickly. Allow warmer air to circulate around the loft from the rest of your property.
7. Make sure that pipe lagging is at least 50mm in diameter or even better, 75mm. The thick lagging will ensure that your pipes are protected from the freezing weather.
8. If you’re going away and you have a willing friend or relative in the vicinity, ask them to pop by and make sure everything’s all right at home. That way, if the worst happens and you do suffer a burst pipe, you’ll be able to minimise the damage.
9. Get to know your home and your plumbing. That way if the pipes burst and you have to locate the shut-off valve in a hurry, you won’t lose valuable time by panicking.

What To Do If Your Pipes Burst

It’s a good idea to know exactly what to do if your water pipes burst. If you suspect that your pipes have frozen, turn off the water at the main stop cock. This will limit the amount of water that’s unleashed into your home if the pipes split.
Before you start to thaw the pipes, make sure you protect any belongings that may be affected by water damage. Cover any electric works such as wiring and electrical junction boxes.

Gently thaw the pipes using a hot water bottle or hairdryer. Begin with the tap side of the frozen area and work backwards towards the header tank.
If your pipes have burst, switch off any central heating. If any electrical items have been affected, do not touch them. Call in a professional electrician to assess your home for safety. Turn off the electricity at the mains to be absolutely sure that everything’s safe.

Drain the remaining water from the pipes by turning on all your taps. If water has collected on a first or second floor and the ceiling is bulging, use a broom handle to pierce the plaster and let all the water out.

Contact your insurer who will be able to advise you on what to do next and how to make an insurance claim for your plumbing.

G&A plumbing can help. We offer an emergency repair service to deal with urgent repairs to the home. Contact us on 0800 626 430 for advice and assistance.

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