Your house’s plumbing system should never be taken for granted, especially during the winter due to the potential of frozen or burst pipes. Those living in warmer climates have nothing to worry about, but the same cannot be said for the folks living in cooler regions.
What Causes Frozen or Burst Pipes?
During freezing temperatures, the water inside drains and pipes freezes and expands, which then causes pressure buildup and then rupture of pipes.
So if you want to avoid this problem before it even begins, this is the article for you. Use these simple steps to help you out:
1. Prevent Your Drains And Gutters From Being Clogged
We’ve all had our days of experiencing clogged toilets at some point in our lives, but one needs to be extra careful when encountering this dilemma during winters. The reason for that is that if your drains and gutters collect too much debris when temperatures begin to plummet, ice starts forming, which then leads to unspeakable damage and eventual breaks in the gutters.
So it’s a good practice to scout all the drains in your bathroom, garden, and kitchen to ensure there aren’t any unwanted debris or leaves lying around in the guttering before temperatures start falling. If I were you, I’d go to the nearest plumbing store or search for the best plumbing supplies online and get myself a gutter guard for each of my house’s drains to prevent them from ever getting clogged again.
2. Turn off Main Water Supply
You should turn off the main water supply during winters, especially when you’re leaving your home unoccupied. This is because burst pipes can potentially result in over 9600 liters of water to escape, which is equivalent to 48 bathtubs full of water.
To turn off your main water supply, you need to locate the main stopcock. Be sure not to do this while water is gushing out from the walls and that you have no idea how to stop it. You’ll find it somewhere on the ground floor, usually beneath the kitchen sink.
In case you’re unable to turn off the water supply from the internal stopcock during an emergency, your next best option would be the main water stop tap located outside your house, typically near the boundary of your home or near your driveway.
3. Do an Inspection Before it Gets too Cold
Before you’re thrust into a spot where you need to check for any leaks and cracks in your pipes, faucets, and hoses, we suggest doing so before the temperatures begin to drop. Be sure to inspect all of your faucets, pipes, hoses, and showerheads for any cracks, leaks or anything similar. If or when you discover those cracks, we suggest calling a professional right away before your issues become disastrous later on.
4. Turn Your Heating System on
Inadequate heating or turning the heating completely off is one of the other major causes of frozen or burst pipes. Even though it’ll help save money on fuel bills, your house will be vulnerable to subzero temperatures and the horrible consequences of repairing burst pipes.
Keeping your heater on is the only way to keep your water at a constant temperature. Even when your house is empty, you should leave your heater permanently on (at least 13°C), most significantly during winters.
4. Drain Down Heating System
If your house’s heating can’t prevent frozen pipes or if you’re leaving your home unoccupied during winter, then it would be better for you to drain the heating system and shut off the main water supply as there won’t be any water to freeze. You can get help from this plumber northcote if you don’t feel confident doing this yourself. It’s not enough to just turn off the water as there is plenty of water in tanks and pipes that could freeze and cause damage afterward, should a burst occur.
We recommend getting expert advice from a qualified and experienced heating engineer or plumber on how to drain a central heating system and water to eliminate the potential danger of water damage completely.
You should also flush your toilets and put a good supply of salt down the sink or drain to prevent freezing.
5. Let Warm Air Circulate Unheated Areas
Various studies suggest water that leaks from exposed pipes in the loft are the cause of most pipe bursting claims. This phenomenon is caused by insufficient warm air that circulates into the loft because the insulation below the pipes was very effective.
That’s why you should leave your loft hatch door open during winters to enable warm air to blow from your house and have it circulate up and around the water pipes and tanks. It may seem costly and environmentally-unfriendly, but this is what stands between having a dried house and having water drip from every corner of the house.
You should also take the liberty of leaving your house’s cupboard doors open under the bathroom cabinets and kitchen sink just so warm air circulates into the pipes that have been exposed to the cold out so that it can circulate around the pipes that are exposed to the cold or outside walls.