Saturday 24 March 2018

What's the best way of dealing with frozen pipes?

Temperatures can drop to extremely low levels during winter, causing the pipes in your home to freeze and sometimes even burst. This can wreak havoc on your home and its contents. The best way to avoid the damage and hassle caused by burst and frozen pipes is to prevent them.

The pipes in your home may freeze for a number of reasons, but poorly protected pipes, which haven't been sufficiently insulated or exposure to icy draughts, usually freeze as a result of cracks or gaps at the point where the pipe enters your home.

Pipes don't usually burst at the spot where an ice blockage occurs. Water freezes and expands inside your household pipes. Continual freezing and expansion of water inside the pipe causes pressure to build up between the ice blockage and the closed tap. As a result of repeated pressure on this section of pipe, the pipe eventually bursts.

To ensure that water flows freely through your pipes this winter, take a look at our simple winter care tips to prevent frozen pipes in your home.

Get insulated

Insulate your loft and the sides of your water tanks. To prevent your pipes bursting, wrap them in lagging (a foam material that insulates and reinforces them).

Keep out the cold

Most modern boilers have a frost protection thermostat which turns on automatically if the temperature drops to a level that will cause your pipes to freeze. Check that this is working properly. As added protection, it's a good idea to open your attic trap door and any sink cupboards on cold days, to let in heat.

Check pipes regularly

If you're going away for a while, ask a friend or relative to check your home regularly to make sure that your pipes haven't burst or frozen. You can always repay the favour when they next go on holiday.

Dealing with frozen or burst pipes can be a tricky business, advice from the professionals is always on hand at Alternatively in the event that your pipes do freeze or burst this winter, there are a number of steps you'll need to take to sort out the problem quickly and safely.

If you find yourself without water, the first thing you need to do is check whether your neighbours are also affected. If they are, the lack of water will most likely be caused by a problem to the mains supply and you will need to contact your water company. If you're the only one without water, you probably have a frozen pipe.

It's important to try and defrost this blockage as quickly as possible as the expansion of the water could cause the pipe to burst, leading to thawed water leaking from the break. Next article we will look at what to do in the event of a frozen pipes.

Irish Independent

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