With the approach of winter, many people start worrying about their water systems and pipes. Why? Because they are highly exposed to freezing temperatures, which may cause a lot of harm to the whole water supply network. When the thermometer shows sub-zero temperatures, pipes are more likely to freeze and burst. The main reason for that is the fact that water molecules inside pipes expand when they freeze, creating consequently water pressure, under the influence of which pipes crack. That usually happens to pipes, located in areas outside of the building insulation, and unheated rooms, such as basements, attics, pantries, crawl spaces, and garages. The best method to prevent them from bursting is to keep them warm enough so that water can’t freeze. Otherwise, an ordinary emergency plumber in London will have a lot of work to do. To avoid such a situation, try to keep our top tips, and you won’t be surprised if harsh winter heaves in sight.
Keep the heating on
First of all, there is a mistaken belief that pipes are prone to burst only in cold climates. However, it’s not true. They also freeze in warmer climates as they aren’t usually insulated properly, or they are put in unprotected areas, and outside. Then, the most important rule to remember is to keep the heating on, even if you leave for a short period of time. This heat doesn’t have to be as high as if you were at home. It’ll be enough if you set the thermostat to a minimum temperature around 12°C. Some of the thermostats have even an extra option for winter to keep the right temperature.
Provide proper insulation
Pipes won’t burst if they have proper insulation. These days, there are many different ways how to protect pipes, exposed to cold air, ranging from fibreglass sleeves put directly on pipes to heat tapes, which warm them up. It’s also good to install frost-proof outdoor spigots, or just put special tap covers on them. To keep pipes warm, you can add extra insulation to walls and ceilings. However, if you aren’t sure what to do, you can always consult a plumber, or a worker in a hardware shop, while buying some of the protective materials.
Seal any cracks
To prevent pipes from bursting, they should be checked before the upcoming winter whether they haven’t been already broken. If they have any cracks, you’d better seal them immediately. You can do it on your own with the use of foam rubber, thanks to which you’ll fill all holes, or call on a plumber to mend a pipe.
Nevertheless, never try to thaw already frozen pipe with the help of any electrical devices, such as an electric heater, or hairdryer since they may cause electrocution. That’s why you should be very careful while trying to repair the damaged pipe.
Allow the tap to dribble
Another useful piece of advice can be allowing the tap to dribble a little. Although it doesn’t sound very economical, it can protect pipes against freezing. In this way, the open tap will avoid creating pressure between the blockage and the tap. Thanks to that, you will be able to sleep peacefully, not worrying about any sudden emergency.
Keep all interior doors open
Also, in the winter, it’s advisable to keep all interior doors open to circulate and allow heat to flow through the flat. If you have some pipes in crawl spaces and cabinets, you should open these doors, too.
Shut off the water system if you leave for a longer period of time
Finally, the last tip for you is to remember about shutting off and draining the whole water system if you go away for a longer period of time, for instance, on holidays. Otherwise, you may be negatively surprised after your return by water damage that happened during your absence.
To sum up, it’s extremely difficult to protect cold water pipes against freezing in sub-zero temperatures and bursting. However, as was presented, you can do that through keeping the heat on, providing proper insulation, allowing the tap to drip slightly, keeping internal doors open and turning off the water system during your absence. Thanks to these tips, you should significantly decrease the risk of unpleasant incidents at home.