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How to prevent frozen water pipes

Worried about your water pipes freezing in the winter? You’re not alone. But the good news is, we’ve pulled together some helpful tips to prevent frozen water pipes. So, let’s get started. Abnormally cold temperatures can put a strain on water pipes – causing them to freeze and eventually burst. This can often result in serious flooding, especially if no one is home to switch off the water! It’s a common misconception that frozen pipes are only an issue for homes in colder climates. But it is, in fact, those who live in warmer climates that are at greater risk as the pipes may not be properly prepared or protected against the perils of winter (i.e. frigid temperatures). 3 tell-tale signs your water pipes are frozen: Frost in the pipe – for pipes that are visible (i.e. under the kitchen sink or in the bathroom), you may observe that frost has started to accumulate on the exterior of the pipe. This indicates that the pipe is frozen before you even turn the tap on! No water comes out of the tap – when you turn the tap on, water should come out of it. If it doesn’t, or there is only a slight trickle of water, then the chances are that the water pipe leading to the faucet has frozen. Strange smells – if you notice an odd smell coming from the tap, it’s likely the pipe is partially or completely blocked. When this happens, the only way for odours to escape is back the way they came from. How to prevent frozen water pipes Although we can’t do anything to control the weather, there are things we can do to prepare for the winter months and prevent water pipes from freezing over. These include: Keep them warm Ok, so you might do this already when you’re home, but keeping the heating on when you’re away for a long period can help to prevent pipes freezing – eliminating the risk of them bursting and causing serious water damage to your property and possessions. Admittedly, the heat doesn’t need to be kept as high as it would be if you were home, but it’s recommended you set your thermostat at 12-15°C – just enough to keep the pipes warm and to prevent water freezing. Most of the time, water pipes are located in cabinets or cupboards. During the winter months – when the temperature drops – it’s advised that you keep these doors open to allow heat from the rest of your property to circulate and keep the pipes warm. Allow the faucet to drip It’s trickier for water to freeze if it’s running, so be sure to turn your taps on and off regularly. On colder days, you can open the faucet fed by that pipe slightly so it can drip a little. Opening the faucet in this way relieves pressure in the system – after all, it’s the pressure that causes pipes to rupture. Of course, if you’re on a water metre, keep an eye on your usage when doing this. Seal any cracks and holes Sealing gaps around holes where the pipes run through the wall or floors is a great way to protect against freezing. It prevents cold air from entering and making the pipes colder than necessary. You should also consider wrapping pipes in cold areas with pipe sponge covers and insulate the water tank if it’s kept up in the loft. We also suggest that you make sure your doors and windows have proper seals for extra insulation and keep the garage door closed to protect water pipes. Drain your water system If you know you won’t be home in colder weather, it’s worth considering draining the water from your swimming pool or garden sprinkler. As well as this, think about disconnecting any hoses from the outside of your home, drain them and store them safely in your garage. Make sure you close the valve supplying these access points as this too could cause water pipes to freeze. Need new water pipes? After acting quickly and seeking advice from a professional plumber, you may find that your water pipes are damaged beyond repair. If this is the case, Total Pipes can help. As a leading supplier in the UK, we have an extensive range of water pipes and fittings available for you to choose from, including blue and black water pipes, compression, push-fit, electrofusion fittings and more. Take a look at our online inventory today and find the most suitable products for your application. If you have any questions about our water pipes and fittings, you’re welcome to contact us at any time. Simply call 01254 382 000 or drop us an email at, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.