Pipework with icicles

10 steps to avoid a plumbing nightmare this winter

20 November 2018

As a result of the freezing cold temperatures, the number of home floods and damp problems caused by burst water pipes and frozen water pipes can increase. Burst pipes can cause serious water damage not just to the contents of the building but to the construction of the property. As a result of a burst water pipe, the property has to be thoroughly dried out and treated effectively to prevent future problems such as damp and dry rot.

Steve Montague, Timberwise Regional Manager, comments:  “The bitterly cold weather will cause major headaches for homeowners. Burst water pipes caused by the prolonged freezing temperatures can cause serious water damage which can lead to future problems. By taking a few simple precautions homeowners can greatly reduce the risk of pipes freezing. Nobody wants to come back home from a Winter break to a cold, damp surprise!”

10 steps to avoid a plumbing nightmare this winter

The following tips will all keep your home free of burst pipes and damp problems:

  1. In very cold weather, check all your taps from time to time. If little or no water flows there may be frozen water in the pipes.
  2. Insulate pipes that are most exposed to the freezing temperatures – not forgetting the corners and elbows of pipework – these tend to be exposed more than other parts. Supplies of insulation can be found at most DIY stores.
  3. Do you know where your stopcock is? 1 in 3 homeowners don’t! The stopcock is used to cut off the flow of water so make sure you know where yours is.
  4. Ask a friend or neighbour to check on your home if you are going away for any time. This will ensure that any burst pipes are spotted early and damage minimised.
  5. Turn off any indoor valves on pipes that lead to taps outside your home. Then open the outside tap and leave it in the open position to allow any water in the pipe to drain. This will make sure that there is no water in the pipe to freeze.
  6. Have your central heating checked and serviced regularly. A leaking radiator valve can cause water and damp problems.
  7. Insulate your loft, pipes and the sides of your water tank.
  8. Re-washer dripping taps because if they freeze they’ll block the pipe. This will also it will save up to a litre of water a day and your money if it’s a hot tap.
  9. In very cold weather the heating will need to be on low, or set to come on a couple of times a day, especially if you’re going away. Most modern boilers have a frost protection thermostat, which turns on automatically if the temperature drops to a level that will cause your pipes to freeze.
  10. Open the loft trap door on cold days to let heat in

If you discover you do have a burst pipe the advice is simple:

Turn off the water
Turn off the water heating systems
Turn off the electrics
Call a professional to repair any damage. You can contact 247 drainage UK for more information.