We may have had the warmest summer on record, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security just yet… Remember the Beast from the East last winter? Prepare early this year, just in case we end up with another harsh winter or sudden cold spell – you don’t want to end up with frozen pipes or with trying to insulate them in the driving rain and snow either. Use our quick guide to check and insulate your pipes if necessary and avoid any last-minute panics when listening to the weather forecast.
What happens when pipes freeze?
There is always a little water left over in pipes whether they are used regularly or not. As temperatures drop, that water can freeze, starting to create a blockage in the pipe. Left unattended, this can build up over time and eventually lead to a burst pipe – certainly not what you want to happen!
How to avoid this
There are a number of things you can do, both to prepare and to do during a colder spell to keep your pipes free from ice build-up and the water running freely.
- Check to see whether your pipes are lagged. This is a layer of insulation that is built in to your pipes, reducing the chances of pipes freezing. It also has the added benefit of improving your home’s overall energy efficiency by keeping heat in, lowering your heating bills.
- Insulate your pipes. If your pipes are not lagged, then you can insulate them yourself. Start off by focusing on those parts of your piping that are either more exposed to the elements or which run through unheated parts of your home – your basement, for example. Your best bet is to get insulating sponge from your local DIY shop, but you can also use towels, old duvets, or old sleeping bags as an interim solution. Make sure you secure them with zip ties so that they do their job properly.
- Keep the heating on. Keeping the thermostat at a reasonable temperature during the winter months will help to keep any ice build-up at bay.
- Airing out cabinets and rooms. Piping runs through cabinets, under flooring, and between walls. Occasional airing of those cupboards and rooms you may not often use, even of your loft, will keep the warm air circulating and raise the ambient temperature around pipes. As a bonus, it will also help prevent mould and mildew build-up.
- Run your taps. This is a good one particularly for those taps you may not often run – such as in guest bathrooms. Running water will melt any ice that may have accumulated in pipes, preventing that build-up over time which could lead to them bursting. A few seconds is all it takes, no need to keep them running and waste water.
- Drain your tank. If you are going to be away during the winter months, or have a second property you don’t use in the winter, then consider draining your water tank. While it’s a more drastic solution, it is a great way of preventing any icing of pipes and gives you complete peace of mind when you are miles away from the property.
For help and advice on anything related to plumbing, or for help getting those pipes checked and insulated, that’s what we are here for at Platinum Plumbers. Give us a call on 020 8855 0361 or drop us a line at and we’d be happy to help. Remember, we also offer free, no-obligation quotes for any installation work.