With much of the UK set to experience sub zero temperatures in the run up to Christmas, it’s not uncommon for pipes to freeze. Sometimes pipes freezing and thawing can cause them to burst.
The recent weather warnings issued by the Met Office are a direct result of what weather experts describe as an arctic maritime air mass which will bring cold weather to the UK with a risk of wintry showers and snow.
Water pipes burst when the water inside them expands as it gets close to freezing, and this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. When the pressure gets too high for the pipe to contain, it ruptures.
If you notice that one of your pipes might be frozen, turn off your stoptap immediately. It’s usually located under the kitchen sink, but can also be found in downstairs bathrooms, kitchen cupboards, garages, cellars and under the stairs.
A burst pipe can have potentially damaging effects. It can flood your home and cost you a lot of money in repairs. Luckily, the Met Office has provided tips on how to deal with a frozen pipe, and how to thaw it.
How to thaw a frozen pipe
It’s best to slowly thaw a frozen pipe. You should not hold a naked flame to the pipe as that could further damage it in different ways. It is best with hot water bottles or towels soaked in hot water.
What to do if your pipe bursts
- Turn off the water supply coming into your property at the stop tap and switch off your boiler.
- Open all your taps to drain the system as quickly as possible, saving some water in a bucket for flushing toilets and hand washing. When the water stops running, turn all the taps off.
- Soak up escaping water with towels to limit the damage.
- If water has leaked near your electrics, do not touch them and switch them off at the fuse box.