Freezing water pipes can cause havoc for your home or business. Imagine returning from a winter break to a floor that??s flooded with water due to water pipes that have cracked and spilt their load.?Use this handy guide so that you know exactly what to do when your pipes have burst.
Looking after Your Pipes in Winter
You can avoid inconvenient and costly problems by preparing?before the?freezing weather?hits, especially if you??re not occupying your premises full-time.?The best way to prevent pipes from freezing is to keep your home at a constantly warm temperature of at least 40 degrees.If you are going away for the winter, leave the heating on just enough to air the property. While heating costs can be expensive, it??s worth paying a little extra for your fuel than?ending up with a bill for the restoration of your property after a flood.?Before you go, make sure you drain the pipes and turn off the mains if you??re going to be away for a few days.
Before winter?sets in, you can take a few steps to ensure that your pipes don??t freeze up. Firstly, fix leaky taps and replace washers to ensure that the water doesn??t freeze and block the pipes. Any pipes that run outside, or which could be affected by cold draughts,should?be well insulated?– wrap them up snugly in foam insulation.?Leaving the loft door open will?allow warmed air to circulate and also give your pipes a little added protection from the cold.
What to do if Your Pipes Have Frozen
If your pipes have frozen, act quickly to stop the problem from worsening. Turn the water off at the mains ?? make sure you know where the mains are before anything untoward happens! You can usually find the stopcock under your sink, in the front or back hall or in your larder or garage.
Ensure that any electrics around the pipes are protected, just in case your frozen pipes do decide to burst. If the pipe is located near a gas supply, call your local plumber immediately ?? do not try to thaw it yourself. Assuming that it??s safe to do so, you can attempt to thaw the pipes yourself.
You can try to thaw the pipes with a hot water bottle, hair dryer, lamp, or warm, damp towelling which you can wrap around the pipes.?Before you start, turn the taps on so that the water can start flow once you??ve eliminated the frozen water. This will help ease the pressure as the ice starts melting. Begin the process?at the taps and work backwards towards the frozen area. Make sure you don??t overheat the pipes as this can cause steam pressure, which can cause the pipes to burst. Don??t heat them too quickly as the extreme change can cause cracks.?Never use an open flame such as a candle or blowtorch.
How to?Deal with Burst Pipes
If it??s too late for any of the above and your pipes have already burst, hopefully you??ll be able to stop the damage from getting worse before structural damage occurs to your property or there??s damage to your electrical wiring. Turn off the electrics immediately if there??s any danger of water coming into contact with electrical works. If water has already touched the mains switch, call out a qualified electrician ?? do not touch it yourself under any circumstances!
Turn off the stopcock to stop the flow of water and drain away all the water to limit the damage as much as possible. Do this by turning on all the cold taps and flushing your toilet.
If it??s just a small leak, you may be able to mop up the water or catch the leaking water in a bucket. But if your ceiling is bulging with the weight of the water, then?you should?steer clear of the area to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.?It??s best to call out a professional?plumber?but if you??re sure that the ceiling won??t cave in, you can try piercing the ceiling yourself with a small broom handle or even a screwdriver. This way, hopefully you can control the extent of the flood yourself.
If you??re good at DIY, you may be able to fix the pipe yourself. If the leak started at a screw fitting, you may be able to tighten it. But it??s usually best to call a professional plumber to ensure that the pipe is fully fixed, it??s worth the peace of mind.
Here are our safety tips at a glance:
1)?Protect electrical equipment; switch off at the mains if necessary and if it??s safe. If in doubt, call a professional electrician out.
2) Turn the water off at the mains
3) Drain all the pipes by turning on the cold taps
4) Deal with a bulging ceiling by piercing it ?? but only if you??re certain that it won??t fall and injure you!
5) Call in a plumber to fix the pipe and provide preventative work to ensure that this doesn??t happen again.
If you need repairs for your property, call G&A. We have a team of qualified tradesmen who can deal with all types of problems, from roof repairs to leaking gutters. Call us for a range of home maintenance and emergency repairs today on?020 8719 0160