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Cold Weather Care for Your Pipes

Think burst pipes are a thing of winter past? Think again! When the temperatures plummet, water pipes in and around the home are at risk of freezing and when this happens, the results can be devastating. With a few checks and small changes, you can prevent frozen pipes and pipe bursts.

Inspect all pipes, especially those leading into the house

Pipes that are outside are prone to freezing, more so if they are not lagged. Pipe lagging, a tube of polystyrene type material, is relatively cheap and available from plumbers and local DIY stores. There are also other products that claim to keep your pipes ice free in sub-zero temperatures.

Fill gaps around pipes

Insulating your pipes is important and protecting them in vulnerable places are essential. This means not only lagging the pipes you can see, but also insulating the gaps around the pipe as it enters your property. Use a good quality expanding foam product, making sure you seal the hole completely. This not only insulates your pipe but also helps to keep cold air and pests out of your home.

Open cupboard doors

When the outside temperature drops below 0°, as you know, water freezes. Burst pipes happen when the water thaws and expands. Keeping your pipes a few degrees above freezing is the solution, with 4° being the optimum temperature that sees water carry on acting like water, running smoothly and freely. It may sound a little daft, but opening the door of the cupboard sink and allowing the heat of your home to penetrate inside the cupboard. This keeps all the piping warmer and your water flowing (but only if your outside pipes are lagged!).

Fix dripping taps

Many moons ago before every home (virtually) had central heating fitted, homeowners were told to leave taps open. The idea was that a slow flow of water constantly circulating through the pipes and taps would prevent it from freezing. But science tells us otherwise: it says that if the pipes are not lagged, the temperature 0° or below that water, whether it is a still pool or a slow trickle will freeze. In fact, a leaky tap with a slow drip could actually increases the chances of your pipes freezing so before the sub-zero temperatures of winter set in, get on top of your house maintenance and fix those leaky taps.

Heat and insulate your home

Thankfully, with central heating distributing heat through the house, the chances of frozen pipes happening within your property are minimal. With many homes no longer having a water tank in the loft, the chances of devastating water damage are also minimised. But, if you do have a water tank, it needs to be well-lagged, and your loft needs to be well insulated.
It also goes without saying, that a warm home is also less likely to have issues with frozen or burst pipes on thawing. If your house isn’t keeping the heat in, then why not consider contacting us here at PGH Plumbers, where we’ll be only too happy to talk you through how we can help.