Winter cold snaps can cause temperatures to plummet dramatically, so it’s vital that landlords know the signs of frozen pipes and how to avoid them.
Throughout the colder months, you need to take steps to prevent frozen pipes in order to minimise the risk of flooding. Read on to find out how to spot frozen pipes, and how to fix them.
There are three key signs that your pipes may be frozen. Make sure that you're aware of them all.
If a pipe has frozen but not yet burst, it’s crucial you act quickly. You may wish to call a plumber to thaw your pipes, but you can also take steps on your own.
First and most importantly, make sure you turn off the stopcock to stop the water supply. You can then use either towels soaked in hot water, or hot water bottles, to begin thawing the pipes. Water UK recommend that you start at the end of the pipe nearest the tap.
It’s important that you never use a naked flame or blowlamp to thaw your pipes, although you may use a hairdryer.
If your pipes have already broken through freezing, you should call a plumber immediately to avoid flooding. Again, make sure you turn off the stopcock straight away. Turn on all of the taps to reduce the flooding risk (making sure that you remember to turn them back off once the repairs are complete), and use the thickest towels you have to soak up any water that has already escaped.
It’s possible that the frozen pipe won't be in an easily accessible location. In these cases, you might wonder whether frozen pipes will thaw on their own.
One potential solution is to simply turn the heating up in the property, which is sometimes enough to melt the blockage. Otherwise, you could consider using an infrared lamp to heat through the wall, provided you know the location of the pipe. Again, however, you should also consider seeking help from a professional plumber.
Of course, prevention is better than cure. In the event of cold weather, make sure that you or your tenants take steps to reduce the risk of your pipes freezing in the first place.
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