How to prevent pipes from freezing and what to do if they already have

General

The cold weather’s definitely here, and with the temperature dropping more and more by the day, it’s time to winter proof your house. One of the first ways to do this is by preventing your pipes from freezing and then possibly bursting. This is definitely not what you want, especially as the Christmas period will soon be upon us, and you’re bound to be busy with family and friends.frozen pipe

So what can you do?

Well first of all, it’s important to look at outdoor pipes. It’s important to note that if these do freeze and burst, they can affect your interior pipes- this could cause you even more expense in the long run! So don’t delay. Make sure that you get your hose disconnected and drained. You can then leave it alone for the rest of the winter. It’s not like you’ll be using it over the next few months anyway. For extra protection, try placing an outdoor dome around the taps.

You should also lag any exposed pipes by insulating them. These are likely to be in your cellar, in your garage or in your attic. An easy but effective way to insulate them is to wrap the pipes with either foam pipe insulation or heat tape. You could even try a heated reflector lamp. It’s worth noting that you could even save yourself some money on energy bills by doing this, as you’ll be reducing the amount of energy that you normally use on heating up those pipes.

Pipes which are inside cupboards can also be exposed to freezing. To stop this from happening, you could simply try opening up those cupboards. This way, the heat from the rest of the house will seep into those cupboards and stop them from getting as cold. In terms of the pipes in your loft or cellar, leave the interior access doors open.

What happens if they’ve already froze?

If this happens, don’t panic! There are things you can do. First of all, turn the water valve off, whether the pipe that freezes is inside or outside. If you don’t know where that is, check under the sink as this is the most common place that it’s found.

If you find that the frozen pipe is inside, open all the cold water taps, but not the hot water ones. This is because cold taps help to drain the system, whilst hot taps can actually increase the pipe’s inclination to collapse.

To protect your home from any water damage, cover your electricity box and remove anything that is close to the frozen pipes. We’re not saying that it will burst and leak, but it’s always better to be on the safe side.

You then need to unfreeze the pipe. If you don’t feel confident about doing it yourself, then call a plumber who will be able to sort it out for you as quickly as possible. To do it yourself, you could use a heat reflector lamp, a hair dryer or even an electric heating pad. Regularly apply heat until the pipes start working as normal. If your home methods don’t work, again seek out a plumber.

Whatever the case, the most important thing to do is not to panic. There’s always a solution.

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