How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
As they do every year, the winter months have brought with them freezing temperatures that strain our heating and plumbing systems. Sometimes the frost can bite especially hard, with some homes even falling prey to frozen pipes. However, you aren’t helpless in the fight against the cold this winter – there are some steps you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing which we’ll outline here.
1. Preparation Is Key
Well in advance of the coldest and harshest of the winter weather hitting, you should take some time out to locate certain areas of interest within your home or business. Firstly, ensure that you know where the stop valve is located so that you can turn off all the water to your property should a pipe burst. Then, think carefully about where the most exposed pipes in your property are located and take note of them, including any that come into contact with an exterior wall or feature outside. We’ll return to address this secondary point later.
2. Remove Your Hose for the Winter
Your water hose outside should be detached from the tap for the whole of winter. Any water that drips into your hose could cause problems which might back up into the tap itself. Eventually, this could reach the pipes in your home. Detach the hose and store it in your garage, taking time out to ensure the tap is turned completely off while you’re at it.
3. Insulate All Exposed Pipes and Keep Them Dry
Any and all exposed pipes that you noted earlier you should now return to. Check the insulation in your loft and garage and top up wherever necessary to help protect your pipes. You can also install insulating fibreglass in areas to try and protect more exposed pipes, or even run heating cables along especially vulnerable pipes to ensure the water in your pipes never drops too low.
In addition, you need to ensure that your pipes stay dry. If they are wet, they could speed up the freezing process in exposed areas. Keep them dry to avoid the worst.
4. Run Water Slowly, Yet Constantly
In extreme circumstances, you may need to resort to more active methods of prevention. For instance, if the power goes out and the temperature has plummeted, it may be more suitable for you to run a slow, constant stream of water out of your taps to prevent your pipes from freezing. Moving water cannot freeze, so bear this in mind if you run into trouble in a power outage but still require water.
5. Turn Your Thermostat Up
Nothing works better to protect your pipes from freezing than turning up your thermostat. The extra and continued heating of your home will work wonders for keeping the liquids in your pipes well above freezing point. You’ll take a hit on your energy costs, but the inconvenience of frozen and even bursting pipes makes this cost one worth paying.
6. Turn the Water Off
If push comes to shove, you may not have any other option than to turn the water off completely using the stop valve. This may be because you will be leaving the property unoccupied during the worst of the cold, or as a precautionary measure whilst you sleep. If a pipe cracks and bursts, you’ll also need to turn off the water, as addressed briefly above.
7. Consider Using Heating Lamps for the Worst Areas
In extremely vulnerable areas, you may need to take extra measures to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze. Heating reflector lamps can be used to concentrate heat on pipes in areas exposed to large amounts of cold, such as crawl spaces, cellars and lofts. Heater tapes may be used instead, which seek to insulate the pipe itself.
8. Know Who to Call If Things Go Wrong
When water freezes in a pipe, it expands and puts the stability of the pipe at risk. Soon, it could burst and cause major problems. If your pipes freeze or burst this winter, you’ll need to have a professional lined up ready to help. Do your research and find a qualified plumbing service in your area that can be of assistance at short notice.
1st Call Drain Clearance are the premier drain unblocking and excavation specialists working throughout London, Harrow & Ealing. We offer a range of services, including CCTV drain surveys, jet pressure unblocking, drain relining and more. We even offer a 24/7 emergency service for your complete peace of mind. To find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team today.