We don’t often think about them until disaster strikes. The problem is, not many homeowners are clued up on how to look after them. Of course, we all know not to pour oil and fat down them as this can block them. But during the winter months, your pipes will feel the force of nature in the form of…ice!
Surprisingly, you might not know that ice is the biggest reason why pipes freeze up, burst and cause properties to flood. About time you took mother nature seriously right? Today, let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing and what the warning signs of an impending plumbing problem are.
The Warning Signs to Look Out For
Frozen pipes can cause some serious issues. Not only are they an inconvenience, but they can major damage to your property. These are the warning signs you should keep in mind…
1. A Lack of Running Water
The biggest sign that your pipes have frozen is if you turn your taps on and no water comes out. Your toilet(s) may also fail to refill after flushing too. However, before you go to light a fire (please do not do this – we are joking), ask your neighbours if their water has stopped too. If they say yes, it could just be a water supply problem, but it is always best to get the opinion of a local plumber if you are not sure what is causing the problem.
2. Strange Sounds
If you start hearing whistling or banging sounds, there could be a chance your pipes are frozen. This can be potentially disastrous as it can cause pipes to bump into each other and, in turn, become damaged. If a whistling sound suddenly occurs, you must call in the professionals as this is caused by an increase in pressure.
3. A Bad Smell
Obviously, wastewater smells bad, but luckily enough, it is contained within pipework. However, if you notice a bad smell, particularly around your drains and sinks, this could be a sign that ice is present within the pipes.
Preventative Measures to Consider
One of the most effective ways to prevent your pipes from freezing is to buy some specialist insulation. It is not very expensive to buy and is far better to invest in compared to the costs of getting a burst pipe fixed. Most types of insulation are made from fibreglass or foam, which you wrap around your pipework and keep in place with waterproof tape.
2. Keep Your Thermostat Consistent
A good way of preventing ice is to keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Whilst a lot of homeowners like to turn down the temperature at night to save money, this can actually backfire and cost them so much more if their pipes burst.
3. Seal Up Any Crack or Openings
You should take a while to look around your home to see if there are any cracks or openings that are causing a cold draft. Although this might seem like it won’t prevent a pipe from bursting, it is going to regulate your home’s temperature and help keep the warmth inside.
4. Keep Your Taps Slightly On
A pipe will burst when water freezes and expands. However, water does not freeze if it is free-flowing. When the temperature suddenly drops outside, we recommend keeping your taps slightly on, even if they are just dripping. This will stop your pipes from freezing so you can avoid a winter plumbing disaster.
Despite your efforts, if it is extremely cold outside, your pipes will freeze – that is just Mother Nature. Luckily enough, we don’t live in the arctic, and our weather in the UK is relevantly mild. But, you never know what is round the corner, so it is best to follow our tips and keep the pipes warm just in case.
Article Submitted By Community Writer