Frozen and burst pipes are one of the most common, and coincidentally, most expensive causes of property damage. While the general misconception is that frozen and burst pipes are only an issue for really cold climates, the truth is quite the opposite. Usually in countries with a milder climate, pipes are left unprotected during construction, as it is assumed it’s a responsibility of the owner to keep them from freezing and bursting, if temperatures ever drop down.
The pipes most at risk in the winter are water supply pipes located in spaces we typically leave unheated, such as garages, basement and lofts, as well as exposed exterior pipes.
The good news is, you don’t really need to worry about your drain pipes. Water supply pipes are small and normally made of cast iron, PVC, copper, steel or even concrete. Drain pipes, on the other hand are 1 ½ inches and larger in diameter, and are normally made of plastic. Since they normally carry waste water, and work on the principal of gravity, they don’t really hold water, and are not pressurised like water supply pipes, so freezing inside them is not an issue.
Here are our best tips on how to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting:
1. Insulate your pipes
One of the simplest ways to protect your pipes is by wrapping them in insulation so they can stay all cosy and warm (just like you would like to). Pipe insulation is not expensive at all and can cost as little as a pound from your local DIY shop.
2. Service your boiler
If your heating is not working efficiently, the heat won’t be able to “travel” all the way from through the heating system, and will leave your pipes unprotected. Having your boiler serviced will ensure your boiler is working to its full capacity, or existing problems will be detected before it’s too late. Book your premium boiler service here.
3. Open the cabinet doors
When the temperatures suddenly drop down make sure to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting by opening the cabinet doors where hidden pipes are located, and allowing the warm air to circulate.
4. Allow the dripping
If you’re expecting a cold blast, open the taps, which are serviced by exposed pipes, and allow for the water to drip slightly. This will allow the water to run through the pipe, and prevent it from freezing.
5. Keep the heating on
If you’re planning a winter holiday away from home, don’t turn off the heating completely. Set the temperature to a lower than your usual setting, but allow for slight warmth, to keep your pipes from freezing and bursting.
6. Use heating tape
Heating tape is a great decision for easily-accessible pipes, which are also at high risk of freezing. However, you will need to monitor the heating tape to prevent dangers of overheating.
7. Home insulation
In the long term you want to make an investment in your home, and insulate the lofts, basements and crawl spaces. While insulating the home can come at a higher cost it is a sure way to keep your pipes and house warm and protected from sudden temperature changes.
Have you got your own tips for keeping your pipes from freezing and bursting? Share them with us in the comments.