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How to avoid freezing pipes :: Posted by: Admin on November 12th, 2012

Drawing of dripping tap

How to avoid freezing pipes

The winter is well and truly on its way and the temperature is dropping, especially at night. Now is the time to ensure that all water pipes are insulated and are not going to freeze.

All exterior pipes should be insulated with polyethylene pipe insulation, this can be bought easily and cheaply and most hardware stores. Even shed or outside toilet pipes should be insulated even thought they are in a building they still need to be protected.

Outside taps if not in use during the winter months should be turned off via an isolator valve and the water drained out by opening the tap and letting the water in the pipe run out. You can if you haven’t got an isolator valve or are wanting to use the tap during the winter buy a tap insulator or a tap insulating jacket to protect the tap.

Pipes in the house

If you plan to go away for the winter, Christmas or maybe you have to leave your house for a business trip it is recommended you leave your heating on a low setting just to keep the heating tick over and to prevent the pipes in the house and freezing, last thing you want is to come back to a burst pipe!

Ensure water tanks and pipes in the loft a suitably insulated also, you could leave the loft hatch open if your going away to let some of the warm air into the loft space.

You should also know where to find stop cocks just in case of an emergency and make sure these are free and working.

Dealing with frozen pipes

If you do get frozen pipes you should first turn of the water supply via the stop cock or isolator valve, you should then thaw the pipe slowly to avoid the pipe cracking, never use a naked flame, heat gun or blow lamp. Thaw the pipe by using low heat such as a hair dryer or lay hot water bottles on the pipe or towels soaked in hot water wrapped around the pipe. Start thawing at the tap end and have the tap open.

Once you have de-frosted the pipe it is important to look for any leaks and deal with them as soon as possible and of course to make sure the pipe doesn’t freeze again by insulating it.

What to do if a pipe bursts

Firstly turn or the mains supply or isolator valve to stop more water coming into the pipe. Next turn on taps to divert the water elsewhere and reduce flooding, try and block escaping water by using a towel or your finger depending on size of the leak.

Once the leak has subsided it’s time to fix the pipe, you may be able to do this yourself or call a reputable plumber in your area. Don’t forget to turn off the taps before the mains supply is turned back on. Also try and work out why the pipe burst and ensure it doesn’t happen again, this may mean simply insulating the pipe or adding more insulation.

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One Response to “How to avoid freezing pipes”

  1. Autumn and winter jobs for around the home and garden :: Improving Your Property Blog :: Handyman and DIY tips – Helping You Improve Your Property Says:
    December 3rd, 2013 at 9:16 am

    […] you have a outside or garden tap you should make sure the pipes are lagged to avoid the pipes from freezing, also if possible turn off the isolator valve that feeds the outside tap and drain off the water by […]

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