Q. HOW DO I PROTECT AGAINST FROZEN PIPES?

A. Cold weather can cause water to freeze. This is a problem because when water freezes in a pipe and turns to ice and expands. As the ice expands, it increases pressure on the pipes and joints, often causing pipes to split or joints to pull apart.

Check all pipes inside your home are lagged and protected before the cold weather comes, and also any bare pipes outside your home. Your local plumbing merchants and DIY stores can help you to find the right insulation. If you're not confident in doing it yourself, a qualified plumber will be able to help you. To find a qualified plumber use our search for WIAPS Approved Plumber or use a WaterSafe approved plumbing business.

You can protect your pipes and fittings from freezing by:

  • Insulating all pipe work in unheated areas like lofts, roofs, garages and outbuildings.
  • Your water tank should be fitted with an insulation jacket or alternatively the top and sides of the tank can be wrapped with suitable insulation material.
  • Don’t place loft insulation under the tank though as this stops heat from the rooms below helping to keep the water in the tank from freezing.
  • If you have toilet cisterns, water tanks or pipes in exposed places or unheated outbuildings make sure you insulate them. Better still, if not in use, drain them for winter.
  • Leave your heating on using a low setting especially if your home is going to be empty for a while.
  • If you live in a flat it’s sensible to leave the heating on low in rooms where the mains water pipe supplies neighbouring flats.
  • If you’re going to be away for a long time turn off your water supply and drain the system – a WaterSafe recognised plumber will be able to give you advice about this.
  • If your neighbours don’t have a key for your home make sure they have contact details for someone who does in case of an emergency.
  • Dripping water increases the risk of freezing so have any leaks at taps or valves repaired as soon as you discover them.

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