During the cold weather, customers often have trouble with frozen pipes. A drop in temperature can cause water in pipes to freeze, triggering a burst when it thaws. A repair is then urgently needed, bringing you expense and inconvenience at a time of year when you’d least want to face it.
To help you to have a stress-free winter, here are some top tips on protecting your home or business over the colder months and how to deal with frozen pipes.
Protecting your home:
- To isolate your water supply turn your stop tap clock wise , we would recommend that you test the internal stop tap works before winter hits
- Make sure any exposed pipes and taps are wrapped or lagged and insulate water tanks. Get your free lagging kit here
- If you have tanks or pipes in the roof space, open the loft hatch to allow warm air to circulate
- Fix dripping taps – a gentle trickle of water can freeze and completely block the waste pipe
- Keep your heating on low if leaving your home empty over the winter and get a friend or neighbour to check the property regularly
- If you own a property or business which will be unoccupied during the holiday period, we would recommend you isolate the internal stop tap or leave the heating on low while you are away
Cold weather and how to deal with frozen pipes
If you have no water or low water pressure it could be because your water supply pipe is frozen.
You may want to check with your neighbour to see if they have the same problem. If they have water, it could be that your pipes are frozen.
How to deal with frozen pipes:
- Find your internal stop tap and turn it off.
- Slowly thaw the frozen pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end of the pipe. Never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw a pipe
- If you are unsure of anything at any time, call a registered plumber.
Problems with your water supply
- If you think the problem is with your water supply and your neighbours are having the same problems, let us know. Our contact centre is open 24 hours a day, call 0800 052 0130. To find out if there are any existing problems in your area, click here.
How to deal with a burst pipe in your home
- Turn off the water supply
Turn off the main stop tap – it should be in the cupboard under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe comes into your home.
- Open all taps to reduce flooding
- Soak up/ block off escaping water with thick towels
- Turn off the electrics
If water leaks near anything electrical – lights, sockets or appliances – don’t touch them. Switch off the electricity supply straight away. Electrical wiring damaged by water can be very dangerous and you will probably need to call in a professional to repair any damage.
- Call a qualified plumber
If you need a plumber to help you repair a burst pipe then the Water Industry Approved Plumbers scheme may be able to help you.
ADVICE - Heating Systems information
Different types of heating system need looking after in different ways in the event of a water supply failure. Check what type of system you have and follow the advice below.
Any heating system with a cold water storage tank and hot water cylinder
If you have a heating system which uses a cold water storage tank (usually in the attic) and if the water supply is cut off, but your cold water storage tank is full, it’s safe to run your central heating. However, you should not use your hot water. A system with a cold water storage tank may give a limited amount of hot water after the supply is cut off, but you risk running the storage tank dry. If that happens it will create an airlock when the water comes back on again, so don’t be tempted.
If your cold water storage tank has run dry, do not use your central heating or your hot water as this could cause your hot water cylinder to collapse.
If you have a combi boiler (where your hot water is heated directly form the gas boiler and you don’t have a hot water cylinder) you can use your heating, but you must not use any hot water from the taps.
If you have Economy 7, turn the immersion heaters off
Solid fuel/ oil central heating system
If you have a back boiler on your fire (i.e. if your fire heats water or radiators in your home) do not light your fire while the water is off. Once the water supply has been restored, light only a small first at first.
If you are unsure of anything at any time contact a qualified heating engineer