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  • Writer's pictureClearpath Drainage

Winter Woes: How to Prevent and Deal with Frozen Pipes

When the cold weather rolls in, it’s time to prepare your home and plumbing system for the plummeting temperatures. Nearly 6% of UK residents have experienced damage to their homes as a result of burst pipes due to freezing. Despite this, around 24% of homeowners don’t insulate their pipes during winter. 

A major reason for pipes freezing and bursting during the colder months is that it’s not being taken care of properly. To help tackle this problem, we’re sharing our tips on how you can protect your pipes during winter: 

Disconnect Garden Hoses

Once you’ve tied up any loose ends in your garden for the season, it’s time to head inside and bundle up for the winter. However, don’t forget to disconnect, drain and store your garden hoses. Garden hoses left connected to outdoor faucets can trap water inside them. This water can freeze and expand when temperatures plummet, causing the hose to burst. Ensure you drain any water trapped inside once you have disconnected the pipe before locating the outdoor shut-off valve and turning it off to stop water flow to any outdoor faucets. 

Insulate Your Pipes

Despite following all the steps, there will always be a little water left in your system. When temperatures drop, this expands and puts pressure on your pipes. A great way to combat this inconvenience is to insulate your pipes. This process is fairly simple and inexpensive. It's also an excellent way to save money and energy. DIY stores sell a range of affordable pipe lagging, tank jackets, and insulated covers. Here are a few tips to consider when insulating your pipes: 

  • Select insulation material suitable for the type of pipes you're insulating and the climate conditions in your area. 

  • Measure the length and diameter of the pipes you plan to insulate accurately to ensure you purchase the correct size of insulation material. 

  • When insulating outdoor pipes, choose an insulation material designed to withstand exposure to moisture, sunlight, and other outdoor elements. 

  • Periodically inspect the insulation on your pipes to ensure it remains intact and effective, replacing any damaged or deteriorated insulation immediately. 

  • When all else fails, contact the professionals. Clearpath Drainage is ready to lend a helping hand if you’re looking for advice on winterising your plumbing system.

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Heating 

While waiting until the last minute to turn on your heating may save you money, it can actually harm your pipes. Maintaining a steady temperature is crucial to ensuring your pipes are protected against dropping temperatures. When it’s chilly outside, let your heating system run on low heat, around 7°C - the minimum temperature needed to keep pipes from freezing. Regularly open any storage doors or hatches housing your pipes to encourage warm air to flow in these spaces. 

Prepare For The Holidays

It only takes around six or seven hours for your pipes to freeze. If you’re planning on going away for an extended period, it’s best to turn the water off at the stopcock mains and allow the water to drain from your plumbing system. You can do this by opening all faucets (indoor and outdoor) and flushing toilets to drain as much water from the pipes as possible. Don’t forget to drain water from other appliances connected to the plumbing system.  

How To Spot Early Signs of Frozen Pipes 

As a homeowner, it’s essential you know the early warning signs of frozen pipes to prevent any excessive damage and costly repairs: 

  • Your toilets fail to refill after flushing 

  • A significant decrease in water flow or pressure from faucets or shower 

  • Exposed pipes (outside taps, etc) have frost on them 

  • Listen for unusual sounds coming from your plumbing system, such as banging, clanking, or popping noises

While you may have taken every necessary precaution to ensure your pipes don’t freeze over this winter, emergencies do happen. Clearpath Drainage offers 24/7 emergency plumbing services in the Southampton, Eastleigh, Winchester and Hampshire areas. Our experienced professionals are ready to help you, no matter the plumbing emergency! 

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