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.
During colder months, you can minimise the risk of flooding by taking steps to prevent frozen pipes. Read on to find out how to tell if your pipes are frozen, and how to fix them.
When temperatures drop during winter, the excess water inside a pipe expands as it freezes. The expansion can cause a split in the pipe, leading to leaks when the water thaws. In the worst case scenario, frozen water pipes can burst due to the increased pressure.
Leaking or burst pipes can cause serious water damage and potentially flooding, so it’s important that landlords do everything they can to stop this from happening.
Not only could a burst pipe cost you a lot of money to repair, you could lose rental income if a flood forces tenants to move out temporarily.
Here are four of the most common signs of frozen pipes:
If a pipe has frozen but it hasn’t burst, it’s crucial you act quickly. You’ll probably need to call a plumber to thaw your pipes, but if it’s not too serious you may be able to do it yourself.
Here are some tips on how to thaw frozen pipes:
For more information on preparing for winter weather (and what to do when it hits), visit our tips and resources hub.
If your pipes have already broken through freezing, you should call a plumber immediately to reduce the impact of flooding.
Before the plumber arrives, make sure you do these three things:
It’s possible that you or your plumber won’t be able to get to the frozen pipe. In these cases, you may just have to wait for the pipes to thaw on their own.
You can speed this up by turning up the heating, which is sometimes enough to melt the blockage.
Alternatively, if you know where the pipe is, you could use an infrared lamp to heat through the wall.
It’s important to remember that in most cases you should get help from a professional plumber before taking any action.
During the winter, there are steps you and your tenants can take to reduce the risk of your pipes freezing in the first place. Here’s an overview of what you need to do:
Read more: What is the Great British Insulation Scheme?
When it comes to maintaining the property during the winter and reducing the chances of pipes freezing, there’s a level of shared responsibility between landlords and tenants.
As the owner of the property, the landlord will be responsible for making sure that the water and heating supply are in good working order. They’ll also be responsible for having the right insurance and fixing any maintenance issues.
Tenants will need to make sure the property is properly looked after by heating it sufficiently, clearing blockages, and checking the boiler regularly.
As well as following the steps outlined above, here are some extra tips for landlords:
And here are some tips to share with your tenants:
At all times of the year, it’s crucial you have landlord insurance to give you peace of mind that you're protecting your property and your tenants.
Having the right cover during the winter months can protect your investment when the temperature drops or if there's extreme weather.
If you're a Simply Business customer and you need to make a claim for something like a burst pipe or broken boiler, you can submit a claim on our website.
Do you have any other tips for how to avoid frozen pipes? Let us know in the comments below.
Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.
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