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  • Cold weather advice

    During the colder months you need to take extra precautions to protect your home from potential plumbing emergencies.

    Cold weather advice 660

    Before winter you should:

    • fix any dripping taps or overflows
    • check your internal stop tap is working
    • ensure pipes in cold and draughty areas are insulated
    • keep pipe lagging dry inside and use waterproof insulation outside
    • insulate outside taps or turn them off at the stop tap
    • don’t put insulation underneath storage tanks in the attic
    • service your central heating regularly
    • consider leaving your heating on low if you go away.
  • How to lag pipes

    Bursts often occur due to water expanding as it freezes which puts a large amount of pressure on whatever material is containing it.

    This sudden pressure build-up can cause pipes to spilt, leak and become a costly hazard at home or the workplace.

    Using lagging, particularly in draughty areas such as attics, outbuildings or garages, will help prevent against pipes bursting when it gets cold.

    You can buy lagging, a foam material made to wrap around pipes, from most hardware shops and large DIY stores.

    When lagging your pipes, consider the following tips:

    • a 15mm pipe requires 32mm of lagging
    • larger pipes need between 19mm and 25mm of lagging
    • ensure all joints and bends are covered
    • replace old style felt lagging.

      Remember, insulation will only delay freezing for about eight hours in exposed areas.


    Frozen pipe advice

    If you suspect you have a frozen pipe or tap in your home consider taking the following steps:

    1. Turn off your water supply at the internal stop tap, usually located in your kitchen.
    2. Partly turn on any affected taps until the pipes have thawed - this will allow any water that was frozen to pass through.
    3. If you are able to locate the section of pipe or tap that is frozen you could help speed up the thawing process by gently heating it, perhaps with a hot water bottle or by wrapping it in warm towels.
    4. Never use extreme heat such as a naked flame or boiling water as this could cause a leak. Opening any cupboards containing pipes will also help them thaw.
    5. Once pipes or the tap has thawed turn on the water supply at the internal stop tap.
    6. You may wish to call a plumber for further help and advice. Once pipes have thawed consider using lagging to help prevent pipes from freezing again.


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