Frozen pipes

When the temperature drops, there's nothing worse than your pipes freezing, leaking or bursting, or worse... your boiler failing.

To help ensure your home remains warm and free from pipe problems throughout periods of cold weather, check out our top tips below.

Frozen pipes

Top tips to help prevent leaks or burst pipes in your home

 

1. Get those drips and leaks fixed

Check for any dripping overflows from loft tanks and toilets, or safety pipes from your boiler. Be sure to get any drips or leaks sorted as soon as possible. Not only can they be costly on your water bill and waste water, the puddle created from a continuous drip or leak could freeze in the cold weather, resulting in nasty slips and falls.

 

2. Leave your heating on low 

It's a good idea to keep your heating on low at night during periods of very cold weather. About 14/15 degrees should keep water circulating in your pipes. If you’re going to be away for a while, let our Homefix team know and we'll turn off your water supply and drain the system down.

 

3. Find your stop tap

Know where your stop tap is!

Should an emergency occur, you'll need to turn the water off quickly. You’ll usually find your stop tap under the sink, however it can also be in an airing cupboard, under the stairs or near the front door. Make sure the stop tap is easily accessible and that it works. If working correctly, you should be able to turn the stop tap clockwise without any problem.

 

4. Minimise breezes and draughts

Minimise draughts and shut doors and windows to unheated parts of your home.

  

5. Insulate water tanks and pipes

Where possible, check for any exposed or unheated water tanks and pipes. If you're concerned about any pipes in your home, give the Homefix team a call on 01403 226000 or log into your My SaxonWeald account to raise a repair.

 

 

What should I do in an emergency?

 

If your pipes do freeze:

 

  • shut off your water supply and then open all hot and cold taps until they run dry
  • switch off your mains electricity supply
  • call Homefix and we will send a plumber out to you

 

If your pipe has burst and is easy and safe to access, try and bind it tightly with a cloth or tape as a temporary fix.

 

 

Condensate pipes

 

If you find your boiler making a gurgling noise and your heating not working, there is a good chance your condensate pipe might have frozen.

 

What is a condensate pipe?

 

Condensing boilers are highly efficient, and they achieve this efficiency by extracting as much heat as possible from waste flue gases. When a condensing boiler is operating efficiently, it can provide up to 2 litres of condensate an hour. The condensate pipe is a white pipe that comes out from your boiler and travels to the external waste water, drainage system or soakaway in the ground outside of your home. Where possible, the pipe will be run internally to avoid being exposed to cold external temperatures.

 

If an internal route is not possible, the condensate pipe is run externally. During prolonged periods of freezing weather, it is possible for the pipe to freeze and affect the operation of your boiler.

 

How can I help to prevent my condensate pipe freezing?

 

For condensate pipes that are run externally, you can minimise the risk of freezing by ensuring the pipe:

 

  • is fully insulated
  • falls continuously away from the boiler
  • has at least a 32mm diameter
  • is as short as possible (no longer than 3m)
  • has as few bends as possible

 

How can I safely thaw a frozen condensate pipe?

 

If your condensate pipe freezes, don't panic - you can usually thaw it safely yourself.

 

3 steps to thawing your condensate pipe:

 

  1. Look for an outdoor pipe (usually a white plastic pipe similar to a waste pipe) which is connected to your boiler.
  2. If it’s safe, easy to get to, and access is available at ground level, pour warm water
    (not boiling) along the length of the pipe. Alternatively, you can use a hot water bottle or heat pad on the sections of pipe you think are frozen.
  3. Reset your boiler. If the pipe has defrosted, your boiler should begin to work as normal.

 

When thawing external pipes during periods of very cold weather, be especially careful carrying hot water. Any water you spill on the ground is likely to freeze, creating new icy patches which could cause a safety hazard for you and others around you.

 

We hope that these useful steps will help you prevent or resolve any issues you have with frozen pipes in your home. However, if you require assistance, please call Homefix on 01403 226000 or log into your My SaxonWeald account to raise a repair.

 

 

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