Time to Prepare Those Pipes for Winter

Pipes freezing can burst and cause major damage

Just as you need some extra insulation to protect you from the winter temperatures, so do your pipes. Plumbing, pipes and drains can all suffer when the mercury drops and the frosts set in. The trouble is that as water freezes, it expands. That can lead to reduced flow rates and even the cracking and bursting of pipes, which potentially can cause an unthinkable amount of damage to your property. For that reason, it’s important to protect your pipes now.

What needs to be protected?

Homeowners should take steps to protect pipes that are exposed to the winter weather. Outdoor taps, sprinkler systems and pipes in areas of the house which are not heated, such as garages, outhouses and attics, are all at risk. The good news is there are a number of simple and cheap steps you can take to give them the protection they need.

What steps can you take?

1. Drain outdoor pipes

One simple step you should take before winter starts to bite is to drain the water from any pipes servicing water-based outdoor appliances. Hosepipes should be drained and the indoor valves on taps outside or in garages should be closed, but the outdoor valves left open. This will allow the water to expand safely.

2. Repair any leaks

It makes sense to take a good look around your property while your various taps, showers and other fixtures are flowing to see whether any leaks are visible. If you do identify any leaks, you can patch them up using a patch kit. However, if the pipe serves your heating or water mains then you should call the professionals as repairing these leaks yourself can be dangerous.

3. Plug any draughts

If you live in an older property then you may have a number of draughts resulting from gaps in brickwork or under doorways. These can be particularly problematic in the garage, where the cold air can quickly cool and freeze exposed pipes.

This is a problem that can be easily solved simply by plugging the gaps with insulation, wood or plastic. However, make sure you don’t plug any exterior vents that are connected to your heating system unless you don’t plan to use that particular appliance over the winter months.

4. Insulation

Probably the most effective way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to invest in some insulation. As well as offering protection against freezing temperatures, insulating your pipes will also help to keep your energy bill down. Circular insulation can be bought from any DIY store and can be wrapped around pipes easily, making this an effective and surprisingly low-cost way of protecting pipes in the colder parts of your home.

5. Leave the heating on low

Rather than turning the heating off and on and creating dramatic temperature changes, leaving your heating on at a low level throughout the winter is an effective and surprisingly cost-effective way to protect your home. You’d probably assume that leaving the heating on all winter will result in high energy bills, but keeping your property at a steady temperature shouldn’t cost more than the sudden heating and cooling when the heating is used sporadically.

6. Clear drain grates

When it comes to keeping your drains healthy this winter, simply clearing the drain grates of the autumn leaves and other debris can keep them at peak efficiency and reduce the chance of them becoming blocked and freezing.

7. Buy a drain protector

If you live in an area where there are lots of trees and your drain grates frequently become blocked, consider investing in a drain protector. This simple piece of non-freeze plastic will prevent leaves, mud and other debris from making it into your drains.

Talk to the experts

If you’re not sure of the best approach to take to protect your pipes or you need a little help, just get in touch with the experts. We’re happy to offer advice and provide a range of services to protect your drains and pipes this winter.

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