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How to avoid frozen and burst pipes - 8 handy tips

How to avoid frozen and burst pipes - 8 handy tips

Published at 10:59am 13th November 2019. (Updated at 7:54am 30th November 2019)

4 minute read

NFU Mutual Wessex Promoted by
NFU Mutual Wessex

As the temperature starts to drop, NFU Mutual have some top tips for preventing a frozen disaster.

Simon Hedges, an agent at NFU Mutual, has compiled eight simple steps to ensure you don’t end up forking out for an emergency plumber or expensive repair costs.  

Here’s his guide to protecting your water pipes:

1. HAVE REGULAR CHECK-UPS

An annual service of your heating system can prevent breakdowns during cold spells. You can also use this time to check your thermostat is working properly and ask your engineer about adding antifreeze to your system.

2. GET ANY DAMP PATCHES IN YOUR HOME CHECKED

They could be a sign of a leak within the wall. Simple things you can do yourself include regularly checking radiator valves, overflows on toilets and looking for leaks on water or central heating tanks. Consider fitting a flood detection device to alert you to leaks at an early stage.

3. LOCATE YOUR STOPCOCK

This will normally be located below your kitchen sink, or wherever the water supply enters your home. Make sure you can access it and close it easily.

Plumber
Avoid expensive call-out fees by following these simple steps.

4. DRAIN YOUR SYSTEMS

If you’re planning on leaving your property unoccupied during winter, turn off the stopcock and drain both hot and cold water systems as your insurance policy may not cover you in the event of a leak while you are away.

5. GET THOSE PIPES LAGGED

Most houses have pipes in the loft and these are susceptible to freezing. Pipe lagging (an insulating fonfuam sleeve) should be at least 5cm diameter and even thicker if your loft floor is well insulated, as this prevents heat from your home rising into the loft.

6. KEEP THE HEAT FLOWING

If you leave your home unoccupied for a short while leave your heating on its usual setting (or just a few degrees lower) while you are away. It’s also advisable to leave your loft door open in your absence, as this allows heat to circulate around your tank and pipes.

Radiator
Be sure to keep your heating consistent throughout the winter.

7. CHECK YOUR PLUMBING

Damage to pipes happens if the water in them freezes but the escape of water only happens when the frozen pipes thaw out. Checking your pipes for signs of freezing or bursts such as leaking or dripping joints, will help you deal with potential problems before the water escapes.

8. IF YOUR PIPES DO FREEZE, TURN YOUR WATER OFF AT THE MAINS AS A PRECAUTION

Also turn the stopcock on the water tank in the loft, if you have one. You can then proceed to thaw the pipes yourself, or call on the expertise of a plumber. To thaw the pipes yourself, use gentle heat from a hairdryer or hot-water bottle and work your way from tap to tank. Open the tap nearest the frozen section of pipe to see when the ice has melted. You’ll need to prepare for any water that may leak from burst pipes, primarily by covering any electrics that are nearby.

For any further information, or to discuss a new or existing home insurance policy, call the Wessex office on 01722 562398 or visit the branch in London Road, Salisbury.

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