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How Can I Prevent Frozen Pipes During Winter Months?

3 mins | Blog | Feb 9, 2024

During the winter months,

the risk of frozen pipes becomes a concern for many homeowners. Frozen pipes can lead to costly damages and inconvenience. However, with some preventative measures, you can safeguard your plumbing system and avoid the headache of dealing with frozen pipes. In this article, we’ll explore some effective tips to help you prevent frozen pipes during the winter months.

  1. Insulate Exposed Pipes: One of the most effective ways to prevent pipes from freezing is by insulating them. Insulation sleeves or foam pipe wraps can be easily applied to exposed pipes in unheated areas such as basements, attics, and crawl spaces. By adding this extra layer of insulation, you can help retain heat and prevent pipes from reaching freezing temperatures.
  2. Seal Draughts: Cold draughts can contribute to freezing pipes, so it’s important to seal any draughts around windows, doors, and vents. Use weather stripping or caulking to seal gaps and keep cold air out. Pay special attention to areas where pipes are located near exterior walls, as these are particularly vulnerable to cold draughts.
  3. Keep Interior Temperatures Consistent: Maintaining a consistent temperature inside your home can help prevent pipes from freezing. Set your thermostat to a consistent temperature, even when you’re away from home. While it may be tempting to lower the temperature to save on heating costs, doing so can increase the risk of frozen pipes. If you’re going on holiday during the winter months, consider setting your thermostat to at least 12°C (55°F) to prevent pipes from freezing.
  4. Let Taps Drip: On particularly cold nights, allowing taps to drip can help prevent pipes from freezing. Moving water is less likely to freeze, so opening a tap slightly can relieve pressure in the pipes and keep water flowing. Focus on taps connected to pipes along exterior walls or in unheated areas.
  5. Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Taps: Before the onset of freezing temperatures, be sure to drain and shut off outdoor taps and irrigation systems. Disconnect hoses and drain any water remaining in the outdoor pipes. This prevents water from freezing and expanding in the pipes, which can cause them to burst.
  6. Open Cupboard Doors: For pipes located under sinks or in cupboards against exterior walls, open the cupboard doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. This can help prevent them from freezing, especially in kitchens and bathrooms where temperatures tend to be cooler.
  7. Act Quickly in Case of Freezing: Despite your best efforts, pipes can still freeze. If you suspect a pipe is frozen, act quickly to thaw it out before it bursts. You can use a hairdryer, heat lamp, or heating pad to slowly thaw the pipe. Never use an open flame or electric heater, as these can pose a fire hazard.

Conclusion: Preventing frozen pipes during the winter months requires proactive measures and vigilance. By insulating pipes, sealing draughts, maintaining consistent interior temperatures, and taking other preventative steps, you can minimise the risk of frozen pipes and avoid costly repairs. Remember to act quickly if you suspect a pipe is frozen and take steps to thaw it out before it causes damage. With these tips, you can enjoy a worry-free winter without the threat of frozen pipes.

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