9 January, 2015
Burst or frozen pipes
Whilst the weather has not been too harsh this winter, temperatures can drop to extremely low levels causing the pipes in your premises to freeze and sometimes even burst. This can lead to extensive damage to buildings and contents.
To avoid the damage and inconvenience caused by burst or frozen pipes, we have put together some basic tips that can be undertaken to reduce the risk of damage to your property this winter.
- Service your boiler and insulate your pipes. As frost can burst pipes, make sure your boiler is working properly and your pipes are insulated against the cold. If your pipes burst, you could be without heating and hot water. Stay up to date on boiler maintenance and pipe insulation to ensure your building stays warm.
- Locate your main stopcock and learn how to turn it on and off. Without knowing where and how to operate the main valve regulating water flow into your building, you may be unable to clear your pipes and thus prevent them from freezing.
- Clear all gutters. When your gutters are blocked, water overflows and runs down your outside wall. That excess water and any frost that forms on your building’s exterior can work their way through tiny cracks in porous brick and cause serious damage. Clear your gutters to prevent overflow and any damage.
- Ensure that during the winter months you regularly keep your heating on. In very cold weather it would be advisable to leave your heating on a low setting or set it to come on a couple of times a day.
- Inspect all insulation. All pipes and tanks in loft spaces or anywhere liable to freeze should be inspected and insulated properly.
- Examine your building’s exterior. If frost gets into loose paintwork, cracks or open joints, it can take hold and cause damage from the inside, invading your property with water and cold weather damage.
- Survey your roof. Your roof should be watertight with no cracked or missing tiles. Even the smallest hole can provide frost with an opportunity to enter and wrench apart tiles by freezing and refreezing.
- Allow heat to circulate. Heat should circulate through your whole building to ensure colder areas that contain pipes do not freeze. Keep inside doors open to encourage heat circulation.
- Let a slow trickle of water flow through taps connected to pipes that run through colder spaces. Either drain the water system or let water flow at a slow trickle to discourage freezing from frost.
In the event your property is going to be unoccupied for longer periods:
- Drain down the pipes and shut off your water system.
- Daily or regular visits to the unoccupied property would help detect potential damage.