When winter temperatures drop below freezing it is urgent to take measures to prevent water pipes from freezing.
In the middle of the UK winter, temperatures often dip to below freezing and it is vital to take practical steps to help prevent plumbing and water pipes from freezing. Pipes bursting as the water inside expands can be very expensive to correct as it can result in a flood in your home and cause untold damage, not to mention the cost of plumbing repairs. Here are some steps you can take to lessen the risk of pipes freezing up in your home.
Running Water is More Difficult to Freeze
It is quite a lot harder to freeze water that is moving as opposed to stagnant water. Lakes and ponds freeze solid a lot faster than running rivers, and water moving through your pipes will not freeze as easily as water sitting still in your plumbing. Letting the water taps drip a little throughout the home will lower the possibility of the water completely freezing solid.
Opening any cabinet doors to the kitchen and bathroom sinks where the pipes are located will allow heat from the various rooms to get to the water pipes beneath the sinks and maintain them at warmer temperatures. Opening the cabinet doors is particularly important for bathroom sinks that have pipes close to the outside walls of the home, and therefore closer to the freezing outside air.
Most UK homes have at least one outside water tap and it is important not to forget this tap and provide insulation for this very exposed plumbing. Home improvement and pipe lagging stores have a range of pipe insulation products to choose from, including foam rubber pipe insulation and tape wrap insulation. It is a very good idea to get exterior tap covers if your home has the type that is fixed on the outside of exterior walls. These tap covers are not expensive and most cost under a pound. You can buy covers made from molded foam and these will go a long way in keeping the wind and freezing moisture from the tap.
Basic Pipe Repair
If your house is built on a beam foundation or if you live in a mobile home, as opposed to a home built on a concrete slab, it is important to create a barrier that reaches from the bottom side of the building to the ground. This barricade will block the cold winter air from blowing underneath the home and will help protect the pipes and also keep the floor warmer.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
If the pipes under a sink freeze, it is not always possible to stop them bursting because ice expands. However, if you realise, they have frozen, and they have not burst, one thing to try is heating them gradually with a hand-held hairdryer to try to get the water flowing through the pipes again.
There may be extreme temperatures that render these things moot, but typically these simple measures will help greatly.2019-06-06
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