Prevent frozen pipes
Mild temperatures in October and November may have lulled homeowners into a false sense of security, as research reveals that 40% of homes will be vulnerable to issues such as frozen pipes and boiler breakdowns this winter.
Pipes are most likely to burst in cold spells when homes are empty. If you go away:
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- Keep the central heating at a minimum 12C-15C, if it is forecast to freeze.
- Insulate pipes in the attic and crawl spaces as these exposed pipes are the most likely to freeze. Lag your cold water tank.
- Leave doors open on kitchen and bathroom cabinets. This will allow warmer air to circulate and reach pipes under sinks and in adjacent outside walls.
- Leave the loft hatch door open as allowing warmer air to reach the loft can help prevent the cold tank from freezing.
- Turn off the water supply to outside taps. Turn off the mains water at the stopcock unless you have a combi boiler that requires constant mains pressure.
- If you are away for a long time over the winter, it may be worth draining your cold water system. If you do return to frozen pipes, use only gentle heat, such as towels soaked in warm water to try to thaw them.
- If your pipes do freeze, turn the water off, drain the system and leave the taps open.
- A good way to thaw out frozen pipes is to carefully use a hairdryer (if safe to do so) or to use a hot water bottle tied to the pipes with a towel. You should start from the end nearest to the tap, which should be open. If you've found a leak, put something underneath to collect water. Never use a naked flame, such as a blow torch, to thaw your pipes as this could cause some serious damage