The Consumer Council for Water has issued some useful advice to help homeowners prevent household pipes from freezing, or worse, bursting during a cold snap.
Cold weather can wreak havoc on water pipes but by following a few simple steps now, you can minimise risk to your home, heating and water supply when the weather takes a turn for the worse. As water expands when it gets colder it can put enough pressure on household pipes to burst them at the seams. Sometimes it is only as the weather warms up that the damage becomes clear.
Top tips for preventing frozen pipes:
- Make sure you know where your inside stop valve is and check that it is working. Its usually under the kitchen sink. You will need to get to it quickly if a pipe bursts. ?
- Ensure pipes in cold draughty areas are insulated. Check that the insulation in your loft is thick enough, and that it covers over and around the water pipes where possible. Do not put insulation underneath the water tank. ?
- Wrap bends or hard-to-get-at pipes with securely fixed strips of insulation. ?
- On very cold days, open the hatch to your loft to let warm air in from other parts of the house and prevent pipes from freezing. ?
- Insulate outside taps or turn them off at the stop tap, or drain them before the frosty weather. ?
- Fix any dripping taps or overflows. A build-up of ice can cause a blockage. ?
- If you go away for a few days, leave your heating on low and set it to come on at least once every day.
This information and other useful advice including how to thaw out frozen pipes and how to contact your water company in an emergency can be found on our winter advice page.
Diane McCrea, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water Wales Committee, said: Last winter was hard for us all but for many it was made much worse by having to deal with frozen and burst water pipes.
Prevention is certainly better than cure and much easier on the pocket. So time invested now following our simple advice could save you a whole load of hassle.
Water companies in Wales also offer advice on how to prevent damage to your pipes on their websites. D?r Cymru Welsh Water has a limited offer for an easy-to-install lagging kit on their website, but you can also get lagging equipment from DIY stores.
The homeowner is usually responsible for repairing any leaks on the supply pipe running to their property under their garden and for the plumbing inside the house. Check your building insurance policy to see if it includes damage to pipes and drains.
If you suspect a leak on your supply pipe contact your water company. Most water companies will offer to help find the leak, and can give advice or assistance to repair it.
Household customers who have a water meter may be eligible for a reduction in their water bill so that they do not pay for water lost through leakage. However, the leak must be underground, and be repaired quickly.
More information on the Get Ready for Winter campaign can be found at www.direct.gov.uk/getreadyforwinter
D?r Cymru Welsh Waters limited offer for a lagging kit and tips for preventing frozen pipes can be found at: http://www.dwrcymru.com/en/Household/Winter-Lagging.aspx
Dee Valley Waters tips for preventing frozen pipes can be accessed at: http://www.deevalleywater.co.uk/category.php?id=12