How to look after your pipes this winter

Now that the there’s a definite chill in the air, it’s time to start taking precautions against the cold weather – and we don’t just mean wearing an extra jumper. Freezing temperatures outside can also play havoc with your home’s plumbing, and the effects of a leaky or burst pipe can be hugely expensive and damaging to your property.

Follow these simple tips to safeguard your pipes and plumbing this winter – it’ll be one less thing to worry about!

  • When the temperature drops to six degrees C or lower, start leaving your heating on a low setting while you’re out of the house – or better still, set a timer for it to come on for a short time every few hours. This keeps warm water flowing through the pipes, reducing the risk of freezing.
  • Keep doors that have pipes behind them – such as utility rooms and the cupboard under the sink – open. This allows warm air to move around the house, which also helps to stop a freeze occurring.
  • Make sure your attic is insulated, if this is where your hot water tank or pipes are installed. As well as saving you money on your heating bills, keeping the hot water tank insulated around the sides and top will keep the water warm.
  • Insulate the pipes themselves. The thinner the pipe, the thicker the insulation should be.
  • Find out where your plumbing system’s stopcock is – it’s usually below the sink unit in your kitchen. This will allow you to quickly turn the water off if you do suffer a leaking pipe.
  • If you do have a frozen pipe, try to thaw it out slowly – don’t apply direct heat like a blowtorch. Towels soaked in warm water or hot water bottles will help to remove a blockage without damaging your pipes.
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