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Wrap up for winter

Essential information to help you protect your property against burst pipes

What makes pipes burst?
How to avoid frozen pipes
What to do if a pipe freezes
What to do if a pipe bursts

What makes pipes burst? Do you know how ice pushes water along the pipe to cause a burst elsewhere? Find out what really happens when a pipe bursts - and how to prevent it. Watch...

Avoid frozen pipes

 •  Insulate water tanks and lag pipes (lagging material is available from all good DIY stores). Make sure there are no gaps at bends, valves or fittings.

 •  Pay special attention to water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like loft spaces and garages, and check insulation in any property likely to be unoccupied for long periods.

 •  Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe.

 •  Find your property’s internal stopcock or valve and make sure you can turn it off if necessary.

    Most stopcocks are fitted under the kitchen sink and close by turning clockwise.

 •  Check your boiler has been serviced.

 •  Minimise draughts from outside and close doors and windows to unheated parts of the property.

 •  If you have tanks or pipes in the roof space, open the loft hatch to allow warm air to circulate.

 •  Leave the heating on low when you are away and get a friend or neighbour to check the property regularly.

 •  Keep a separate supply of drinking water for emergencies.

    If a property is going to be unoccupied for long periods, turn off the water at the stopcock and consider draining down the system so there is no water left in the pipes.

If a pipe freezes...

 •  Turn off the water supply at the stopcock.

 •  Check to see if the pipe has burst.

 •  Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end nearest the tap.

 •  You can also use a hair-dryer (lowest setting) but NOT a naked flame or blowlamp.

    Don’t leave taps dripping or running as the water may not drain down the plughole if the pipe below is frozen.

If a pipe bursts...

 •  Turn off the water supply at the stopcock.

 •  Open all taps to reduce flooding.

 •  Soak up/block off escaping water with thick towels.

 •  Call a qualified plumber.

    Turn off taps once pipework is repaired to avoid further flooding.

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Get ready for winterRead the government advice published on the Met Office website on what you need to think about when preparing for the temperature to drop
Find a plumberKeep the number of your plumber handy in case of emergency or use the new WaterSafe service to locate a registered plumber

Contact your local
water company
If you have a problem with frozen or burst pipes outside your property boundary, contact your supplier

© Water UK

Wed 23 Jul 2014, 21:07
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