avoid frozen pipes



The weather is starting to turn cold. Autumn weather is quite unpredictable. To avoid frozen pipes and the problems that causes, you should always keep an eye on the latest weather forecast for future dips in temperature.


Why do pipes freeze?

Even when your taps are not turned on your pipes will still have a small amount of water in them. During the colder months, this water can freeze and leave you without running water. Plus is creates a greater risk of them bursting, causing serious damage.


How to avoid frozen pipes

If you see there is a cold spell approaching, there are steps you can take to try to prevent your pipes freezing.

  • Set your thermostat at 12-15 degrees if you are going to be away from home. This will ensure the air inside stays warm and in turn keeps the internal pipework warm
  • Open cupboard doors and the loft hatch, hot air rises and will circulate around your home
  • It is harder for running water to freeze. Turn your taps on and off regularly. Or allow a small, constant trickle from your taps so that water is always passing. If you are on a water meter you will want to keep an eye on your usage though, as this could be costly
  • Ensure you insulate pipework and water tanks in cold areas, such as the loft, with sponge covers. This will help to keep them warm.
  • Going away for a longer period during the cold weather? You could consider completely draining down your system. We would recommend a qualified plumber do this.


What to do if your pipes do burst

Turn your water off immediately at the stop cock. If you do not know where this is you should contact your water supplier. Then call us at WRP Group on 01772 347327. This is not a job you want to attempt to rectify yourself.

How to thaw frozen pipes

Confident your pipes are only frozen and have not burst? You can try the following steps to defrost them yourself. We would always advise getting in touch with a qualified plumber though if you are unsure.

Turn on the taps

This can help to relieve the pressure on the system and show you where the pipework has frozen. If water is not coming out of several taps you will need to contact a plumber. Outside pipes or pipes in places such as the loft are more likely to freeze.

Turning up the heating

Increasing the air temperature in your house can be enough to thaw the frozen pipework. Opening cupboard doors and loft hatch will allow the warm air to circulate around your house. Worst case, you can use a portable plug in heater in cooler areas such as the garage. But remember DO NOT leave it unattended.

Applying heat to the pipework

If the pipework is exposed, you can try applying heat to the frozen section. To identify the area, you can feel along the pipework and then warm the area SLOWLY. Use a warm cloth or a hairdryer on a low setting.

NEVER USE equipment like a blow torch or similar with a direct flame as this can cause the pipes to melt or explode!