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How to prevent pipes freezing in your home

How to prevent pipes freezing in your home

As the freezing weather hits every corner of the UK, pipes in your home will be at risk of freezing. To help keep your home safe this winter, we have come up with our best tips to prevent pipes from freezing in your home.

The risk of pipes freezing in your home

Pipes freezing in your home are at risk of bursting. A frozen pipe can burst due to the water inside expanding as it turns to ice - placing too much pressure inside the pipe until it gives in and bursts. This means that you will suffer an escape of water in your home, which can lead to thousands of pounds worth of damage.

What to do if a pipe bursts

If you suffer a burst pipe, you should immediately turn off the water main and call a plumber. This will mitigate the damage (prevent further damage) by limiting how much water leaks into your property. This is why it is essential you know where your stopcock is located in your home and how to turn off the water supply.

If you are making an insurance claim for a burst pipe, be sure to check our top tips for burst pipe insurance claims and contact Oakleafe to get us involved as soon as possible - we will speed up and simplify the process of getting your claim sorted and your home restored.

What temperature freezes pipes?

Water in pipes can start to freeze as soon as the temperature reaches 0 degrees Celsius, however it will likely take temperatures of at least minus 4 or a few days of below 0 for pipes to fully freeze. With the temperatures hitting the UK this winter, the possibility of pipes freezing is very likely.

How quickly your pipes freeze will depend on how protected they are by insulation, and the location of the pipes in your home - more on this later. Pipes outside can also freeze from cold winds if they are out in the open or not completely lagged.

How can you tell if your pipes are frozen?

There are some key signs that could indicate that you have a frozen pipe in your property.

Lack or absence of water flow

The first warning sign of a frozen pipe is the lack of water or the absence of water flowing out of a tap, or shower or another plumbing fixture.

tap trickling freezing pipes
A lack of water coming from your taps can be an early sign of frozen pipes.

Frost on the pipe

It is important to check pipes that are visible in your property to see if they are frozen such as the ones under your sink. If the exterior of the pipe is covered in frost, then this is a strong sign that your pipes are frozen.

Unusual smells or sounds

You should never ignore strange smells our sounds coming from the pipes in your property. For example, a sewage smell in your property could indicate the freezing of pipes connecting to your sewer line.

If you hear unusual sounds such as gurgling or banging sounds from the pipes, then this could also be a sign of frozen water inside of them.

Top tips to prevent your pipes freezing

There are several ways you can try and stop your pipes from freezing in your home. Here are our best tips:

  • Keep pipes covered - insulate
  • Run your taps regularly
  • Leave your heating on 12-15 degrees
  • Drain water system when going away

Keep your pipes covered (insulated)

Pipes covered by insulation (known as lagged pipes) significantly reduces the risk of pipes freezing. This is especially important for pipes in colder places, such as in the loft. Our advice is to also insulate any water tanks in your home and ensure that even pipes in difficult places to reach, are lagged.

Insulated pipe
Insulated pipes will stay be protected from freezing during the cold weather.

Run your taps regularly

Regularly running your taps makes it more difficult for water to freeze. You could also let your taps trickle, so water is always passing, but please be mindful to keep an eye on this if you are on a water meter.

Leave your heating on

Setting your heating to 12-15 degrees Celsius, will ensure that your home is always kept warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. Again, please be mindful of energy bills stacking up during the cold winter.

Drain water system when going away

If you plan to be away from home for long periods during freezing weather, it is a good idea to drain the water from your system completely. This will help prevent pipes from freezing while you are away - potentially saving you a lot of stress and hassle when you return home.

Keep safe this winter

If you are struggling to fight the freezing weather in your home this winter, it is worth checking if you are eligible for cold weather payments to help with your energy bills. Click here to find out if your postcode is due a cold weather payment this winter.

Be sure to stay healthy and keep your home safe and check on elderly and vulnerable relations and neighbours during the cold weather. Stay on top of the latest weather warnings in place in your area from the Met Office and keep up to date with advice from the local authorities.

For more tips and advice of keeping safe during winter, The CDC has all things covered to keep you and your home safe this winter; from and winter proofing your home to preparing your vehicle for the cold.

Winter proofing your home for the cold weather UK

Making an escape of water claim

If you are unlucky enough to suffer an escape of water and damage to your property because of a burst pipe, you will need to inform your insurance company (after calling a plumber of course). A water damage insurance will be stressful and time consuming for you the homeowner. It is advised you get a loss assessor such as Oakleafe Claims on board who will handle all stages of the claim for you - including all meetings, investigations, and negotiations. It is best you contact a loss assessor as soon as possible after suffering an escape of water.

Related Claims and Topics
Burst Pipe,Domestic claims,escape of water,Frozen pipe,insurance assessor,water damage
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