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Top tips to prevent burst and frozen pipes

With the temperature plummeting across the UK, there are several weather warnings in place over the next few days, and some are forecasting snowfall this week, which means that landlords and other property owners need to have the right measures in place to prepare their properties against the cold weather and avoid potential disruption.

A burst pipe can be extremely stressful, not just for tenants, but also for landlords, especially if it is an emergency that needs addressing at night or at the weekend, making it harder to source an emergency plumber. 

Ian Henderson, managing director at Boiler Plan, said: “Naturally, winter is an extremely risky time for frozen pipes which could cost you money if they burst and ruin walls, floors and belongings or even cause damp and mould.

Given that prevention is better than the cure, here are some useful tips from Boiler Plan: 

Keep pipes in full flow: Ensure that water is regularly run from exposed pipes by turning taps on frequently. If frost is suspected on any pipes leave the connecting tap on drip for a short while.

Consistency is key: To try and cut down on costs, it's common to leave the heating off as long as possible and then crank it right up for a short while, but this could actually create problems and result in spending more money on repairs. If the heating is left off for most of the day, pipes can cool to freezing temperatures. To avoid this, opt for a consistent temperature and leave this relatively low if you want to save on heating bills.

“It’s easier to take measures to prevent pipes freezing and bursting, which can become a nightmare to deal with during cold nights and during the festive season.”

Insulation: Installing items such as loft and cavity wall insulation will make sure that indoor pipes are at a temperature that won’t freeze. Add foam insulation directly to exposed pipes, which is inexpensive and very effective against freezing. Heating tape can also be used to prevent frost and keep the temperature at a safe level.

Keep the cold out and let the heat in: Make sure doors are kept closed to the garage or porch if exposed or ‘at risk’ pipes are in these areas, especially at night-time. Cabinets and pantries that conceal pipes should also be kept open to allow heat from the home to reach them.

Spot the signs: Look out for signs that a pipe may have frozen, such as weak water supply, or strange smells from taps or drains. Check pipes for frost on the outside as this will also indicate that the water is frozen inside.