If you have never experienced the impact of a frozen or burst pipe, you are lucky. The effects on your home can be devastating – as water damage can take a lot of time and money to rectify. Insurers estimate that the cost to put right the impact of a burst pipe is on average £7500.
The chance of burst pipes increases in the winter months when temperatures drop. As the water in the pipes freezes, it takes up more space and can stretch joints and valves. When the temperatures rise again and the ice defrosts, you will find water spurting everywhere.
Fortunately, there are some simple precautions you can take that will make such accidents avoidable.
Stopping the pipe from freezing
Service your boiler
The first way to prevent frozen water in pipes is to stop the water from getting cold enough to turn to ice. Your heating is your first line of attack here. You need to be sure your water will heat up when you switch your boiler on. Therefore, keeping your boiler serviced will help, as it will stop you from being vulnerable to long periods without warm water flowing through your plumbing.
Insulate your pipes
You can also insulate your pipes to prevent them from freezing. You can buy inexpensive lagging for pipes and jackets for the tank from your local DIY store. Before you go to the store, be sure of the measurements for your pipes and tank. Your immediate focus should be on outside pipework and overflow pipes. Pay special attention to the bends, valves and fittings, where there is the chance for vulnerabilities to be exposed.
Then, move onto the colder spaces in your home. The loft, garage and cellar are likely places for burst pipes. The water tank, if stored in your attic, is also vulnerable – and can do a significant amount of damage if impacted by the cold.
Turn off the water if you are going away
If you are going to spend the winter in warmer climes, then you should switch off your water. You will not want to have your heating on when you are away, so the chances that your pipes will freeze are high. Therefore, locate your stopcock and switch off the water supply. Then, switch on taps to empty out any water held in the pipes.
You may want to still ask a neighbour or family member to pop around to the house – just in case. If a pipe does begin to leak, you could minimise the damage if it is spotted quickly.
Prevention is better than cure. Paine Manwaring engineers are happy to come around and service your boiler and check the efficacy of your pipework. However, if the worst happens, we can offer emergency support to help reduce the cost and inconvenience of a burst pipe.