As the temperature drops it’s important to prepare your home for the cold weather.
Here our top tips:
It’s important that you know where your stop tap is located in case of an emergency, allowing you to react quickly to shut off the water supply in the event of a burst or frozen pipe.
The stop tap is usually located underneath the kitchen sink, but it is always worth checking this before anything happens.
Insulating your pipes is the best way to prevent frozen or burst pipes. We recommend covering your pipes with a foam tube called lagging which is used to wrap around pipes. It can be purchased cheaply from most DIY stores and is very easy to install.
Making sure pipes inside and out are protected especially your outside ones as they are exposed to the elements making them vulnerable in the colder months. As well as lagging you should remove any hosepipe attachments and, switch off the valve that’s attached to the tap to prevent damage in the freezing weather.
Don’t forget to insulate pipework and water tanks in the loft – leaving the loft hatch open will allow the heat from your home to circulate up into the loft.
Quick guide to putting lagging on your pipes
All you’ll need:
- A tape measure or ruler
- A saw or knife to cut the foam tube
- Locate the pipes you want to lag and measure the length pipework you need to cover – once you have done this you can purchase the required length from your local DIY store.
- Cut the lagging to the required length using a saw or knife.
- Open the tube sing the pre-cut split down one side length ways and clip it around the pipe making sure it’s a snug fit especially around joints and corners. You can seal any joints with tape if required.
Make sure your whole home is kept warm. By leaving your heating on a low or frost setting when you’re not home can prevent pipes freezing and putting draught excluders on doors.
An easy way to stop heat escaping in your home is to close your curtains when the heating comes on in the evening.
It is important to know which pipework you are responsible for in case something goes wrong in the winter months like a burst pipe.
Below you can see a water mains diagram showing who is responsible for what.
If you are unlucky enough to experience a burst pipe the best person to contact is a plumber. Be prepared and have the number of a local plumber to hand in case of an emergency.
A drop in temperature can cause the water in your pipework to freeze and when water freezes it expands putting pressure on pipes which can cause them to burst.
If you have no water and think the cause could be a frozen pipe carefully check the pipe and if you notice any signs of damage or splitting contact a local plumber. We recommend that you use a plumber that is an eligible member of an Approved Plumber/Contractor Scheme such as WaterSafe.
What to do if your pipes freeze
- Stop the supply of water by turning off the stop tap (this is usually under the sink).
- Don’t switch on your boiler or immersion heater
- Turn the tap on nearest to where you think the pipe has frozen to allow the water to flow when the pipe has thawed out.
- Gently heat the frozen pipe with a hot water bottle or hot cloth working back toward the cold water tap.
If your pipes do freeze it is important to be gentle with them to try and prevent them from bursting. Do not use a naked flame or heat gun on the affected area as this will cause more damage to the pipes.
What to do if your pipes burst
If you are caught out by a burst pipe it is important to act quickly to try and minimise any damage.
- Stop the supply of water by turning off the stop tap (this is usually under the sink) and open all the hot and cold taps in the house until they run dry.
- Turn off your mains electricity supply. If the burst happens near any wires, sockets, lights or appliances do not touch them contact an electrician as the water may have caused damage.
- Where possible you can try to apply a temporarily fix the burst pipe using a cloth or tape.Contact a local plumber. We recommend using plumber that is an eligible member of an Approved Plumber/Contractor Scheme such as WaterSafe