23rd July 2015
It doesn’t matter whether you have metal or plastic pipes, water can still freeze, bursting pipes and causing water damage to your home.Instead of waiting until winter, there are a few measures to take to ensure your pipes are protected.
As outdoor pipes are more susceptible to freezing due to being exposed to colder, harsher conditions than indoor pipes, remember to disconnect hoses and water sprinklers and switch them off before the temperature drops too much.
Try and keep indoor and outdoor pipes well insulated with expanding foam where possible. Inside pipes (both hot and cold) can be insulated with a heated reflector light, foam padding or even newspaper. Material and joins can be secured using tape. This will help stop cold getting to the pipes and help keep warmth on the inside of the pipes. You may even want to consider installing a circulating pump, which keeps the temperature of water regulated so that even water in the cold pipes cannot drop below freezing.
Make sure you have insulated colder parts of the house like the basement or attic areas, which are susceptible to draughts. You can also leave the door or hatch to the attic open if it is safe to do so, allowing heat to rise and warm the room (thank you again, science lessons!) Not only do you have peace of mind from burst pipes, you also save money on your energy bills!
Another tip to stop water from lying in the pipes and freezing is turning the tap on at a trickle. The flow of water prevents water lying in the pipes and thus freezing, as well as releasing pressure, which can often build up when taps are switched off for long periods of time.
In a similar vein, keep the heating on low all day and night (no lower than 12-15C/53-59F) to regulate temperature and ensure things tick along nicely. Suddenly switching heating off at night can cause frozen pipes. At the same time, turning off the main water valve will minimise leakage and damage, if there is a burst pipe and you are out of the house for a few days. In any case, you’ll want to check your home insurance policy covers this!
Plastic or copper pipes are more likely to split, causing leakage and damage to your property. If this is the case, you will need to call a plumber straight away.
If you suspect you have a frozen metal pipe, then you can carefully thaw it by gently applying warm air from a hairdryer to the area. You will know if the problem has been fixed once more water begins to flow from the tap than before.
Remember that if you have one frozen or burst pipe, it can affect the others in the system so all pipework will need to be checked. Also, it is a good idea to ask your plumber for a consultation on insulating the walls if you have had problems with exterior pipes to prevent them from bursting in the future. Call our certified plumbers on 1800 862 565 today for help and advice, or visit here for more information about our services.