While it may not be something that crosses your mind very often, a frozen pipe can be disastrous for you and your home. During the colder months, the risk of frozen pipes is obviously much higher, so this article will give you some tips and advice on how to deal with a frozen pipe should you be unfortunate enough to be the victim of one.
Fixing A Frozen Pipe
- Finding a frozen blockage in your pipe is easier than you may think. To locate a blockage, simply feel along the pipe until you find a section that is colder than other areas. It may be the case that you have multiple blockages, so make sure to check the entire pipe, and don’t stop when you find the first blockage. Before inspecting, turn off your stop tap.
- When you have located the blockage or blockages, the next step is to thaw them out. This can be done using a hairdryer, but be sure to take great care when doing it, as the expansion of water during thawing can cause the pipe to crack or burst. A crack as little as eight inches can leak 850 litres of water, which could cause untold damage to your home. Low heat and slowly is the way to go.
- Once the pipe is thawed, inspect it for any signs of damage such as cracks or leaks. If you do find something that concerns you or doesn’t look right, call a plumber straight away, and avoid using that tap until the plumber says it is safe to do so. If the pipe is not damaged, turn your taps back on and run them until normal flow is resumed.
- If you are extremely unfortunate and your pipe does burst, you must take swift action to try and limit the amount of damage to your home and possessions. Speak to your home insurance provider to find out if they can cover the cost of alternative accommodation, if necessary, while your home is repaired.
Preventing Burst Pipes
- Make sure your pipes are sufficiently insulated by wrapping them in lagging. Lagging is a foam material that will prevent your pipes from bursting, and it is obtainable from most DIY stores.
- If you are going away for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to ask a friend, relative or neighbour to check your home in case any pipes have burst or frozen. Checking the pipes won’t take long and it’s definitely worth owing somebody a favour for!
- Modern boilers have a frost protection thermostat which switches on if the temperature drops to a certain level. Make sure this is working, and if it is a particularly cold day, open loft or airing cupboard doors to let in heat.
The above are just a few tips to prevent and repair frozen pipes. It is vital that you carry out these checks if you think your pipe may be frozen, because a burst pipe can cause a huge amount of damage to your home in a very short space of time.
Should you find yourself in more trouble, or struggling, do not hesitate to call in a pro.
Where heating and water are concerned, it pays to have an emergency plumber fix it properly so you don’t find yourself stranded in minus temperatures or paddling through radiator water.