When water freezes, it expands inside the pipes, causing frozen pipes. This puts pressure on the metal as well as building up a big ice blockage. The pipe will eventually burst if it is not treated.
Why does this happen?
- Insufficient insulation.
- Exposure to draughts where the pipe meets the property walls.
- Insufficient circulation of warm air throughout the property.
How to avoid frozen pipes
Counterintuitive though it may seem, leaving the tap running very slightly will help to prevent freezing.
Prevention is better than cure, so take the time to check and maintain any issues and weatherproof your home before winter hits:
- Check and improve the insulation in your loft and beside water tanks.
- Make sure that pipes are wrapped in pipe lagging, which acts as insulation.
- Check that everyone in the house knows where the water stopcock is and that they know to turn it off in an emergency. This will stop the flow of water and limit the damage.
- Leave the heating on a low temperature or set it by a timer to turn on a few times throughout the day, especially if you are going on holiday.
- Ask a neighbour or a friend to check on the property at least once a week if you are going to be away for more than a few days, and definitely if you are away for over 30 consecutive days.
If the worst happens and one of your pipes DOES freeze, find out what you can do to stop it bursting.