Avoiding frozen pipes

The UK is agreed that the run up to Christmas was a particularly cold one. The problem being that we may still experience similar temperatures as we move into the New Year.

If you managed to avoid any burst or frozen pipes then its no time to be complacent. Because of the snow disruption which accompanied the freezing temperatures, many homes benefited from the heating being on more during the day, which helped ward off the potential for frozen pipes.

However, with the chance of homes being left empty for longer now the festive holidays are over, the risk can increase – especially if you’re not leaving your heating on low all day.

So, you need to check your pipes and loft tanks are well lagged and insulated. Re-tape or fix any loose coverings and if required, fit new or thicker layers of protection.

Outside taps should be isolated from inside or well lagged and covered. If a fizzy pop bottle of water can freeze overnight in a parked car, then imagine how easily a pipe exposed to the outside could freeze up.

‘have an emergency plan’

Have an emergency plan worked out in advance so if the worst does happen, you know what to do.

Check you and all the other adults in the home (including friends and neighbours that might be watching the property whilst you’re away) know where the stop tap is for your water supply and that it moves freely – most important that last bit!

Have the name and number of an emergency plumber close to hand in case needed.

With regards leaving your heating on all day because it’s cheaper to have it at a constant low rather than and on/off morning and night, we’ve been unable to find any substantial proof that one method is cheaper than the other.

‘be realistic with thermostat settings’

Both sides of the argument have differing results and it may be down to individual properties and the specific heating method installed whether this actually saves money or not. Most agree that it’s worth trying yourself to see if you do save money / lessen the risk of freezing pipes etc not to mention the comfort of a ‘warmed house’. Be realistic with thermostat settings and remember to turn them down when leaving the house.

Beware of switching off radiators completely in rooms you’re not using as poorly ventilated rooms can experience damp problems as a result. If you’ve got unused bedrooms etc, the try leaving the doors ajar or even leaving a window slightly open (locked if you’re not in) to allow air to circulate.

photo credit: jim clark

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