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What to do if your pipes freeze or burst and how to stop it happening

November 17 2015 | Articles | News

(Boggart Hole Clough in the snow)

Winter weather can cause problems with your pipes. Know what to do if it happens to you and what steps you can take to stop it.

Do you know where to find your stopcock?

This is the most important thing to find out

Your stopcock is your mains water tap. You turn it off when you need to stop your water supply. It’s usually where the water pipe enters the house, or near the kitchen sink.

Can’t find it? Ask us where it is next time we visit

If you have a burst pipe:

1. Turn the water off at the stopcock and switch off any water heaters.

2. Turn on all your taps to drain the rest of the water.

3. If electric fittings are wet don’t touch them and turn off the electricity at the meter.

4. If any ceilings start to bulge, pierce a small hole to release the water. Remember to put a bucket beneath to catch it.

5. Order a repair

If you have frozen pipes:

1. Turn off the water at the stopcock and switch on the cold taps to help melt the ice faster.

2. It’s best to leave the pipes frozen, but you can try to defrost the pipe using hot water bottles or a hair dryer. Do NOT use a blow torch or open flame – this can cause the pipe to burst, melt or worse.

3. Take care to defrost from one end of the pipe to the other and not from the middle.

How to try and stop your pipes freezing:

If you’re at home, use the thermostat to keep the temperature comfortable. During the day a good setting is 18°C – it’s comfy and keeps the cost down. If it's freezing outside, set the heating to stay on all the time, but turn the thermostat lower for the night. Remember, the higher the thermostat, the more fuel you use.

If you’re away in cold weather, leave the heating on all the time but set the thermostat right down to 6°C. This will stop your pipes freezing, but it won't cost much.