If you get frozen water in your pipes this winter, it may cause some damage. As water freezes the pipe will expand and it could eventually burst.

Simple checks to prevent pipes from freezing

Check 1 – insulate all unprotected pipe work, cisterns and tanks

Check that all your pipe work, cisterns and tanks in unheated areas and garage areas are well insulated. If they are not, insulate them with good quality, waterproof foam lagging. You can buy this from DIY stores and local plumber's merchants – it is very easy to install. Insist on insulation that meets the requirements of British Standard 6700.

Check 2 – locate and check internal stop taps

Locate and identify all internal stop taps. It is advisable to check them regularly to ensure they are working correctly. 

Your main stop tap is usually found at the point where the pipe work enters your property. This is usually under your kitchen sink.

Check 3 – keep buildings heated during cold spells

During prolonged periods of frost, keep buildings heated. If frost continues to persist, set an automatic timer to constant or 24-hour setting on your heating system.

Use your thermostat to regulate the temperature throughout the night, and while any premises are closed or vacant.

What to do if your pipes have become frozen

If your pipes freeze this winter please be careful to defrost them slowly and carefully:

  • turn off the water supply to your home at the stop tap, usually located under the kitchen sink
  • use a hair dryer at its lowest setting to thaw pipes. Be careful not to warm them too quickly
  • thaw along the pipe, starting from the end nearest an open tap
  • don't use a blow lamp, heat gun or any other naked flame
  • don't leave taps running. The water may not flush down the plug hole if the pipes below are frozen which could result in internal flooding
  • if in doubt, call a registered plumber to help you