Burst or Frozen Pipes : a practical guide

Reducing the risk of water pipes freezing
  • Keep your home as warm as possible, even when it is unoccupied.
  • Leave room doors open to allow warm air to circulate.
  • If there are pipes in exposed or draughty areas, insulate them with lagging.
  • Report leaking outside overflows to our Contact Centre.
  • Leave the doors to your sink unit open overnight as warmer air will prevent pipes freezing.
  • Leave the trap door to your roof space slightly open to let warm air in. This is only necessary if you have water pipes or tanks in the roof space.
  • Run your taps frequently to get water flowing, moving water is less likely to freeze.
  • If you have an outside toilet, turn off the water supply to the toilet to prevent the supply pipe bursting.
If you have a burst pipe
  • Locate your main stop tap; turn off the water by turning the stop tap off, normally anti-clockwise. Your stop tap can usually be found under your kitchen sink, generally, close to where your water supply enters your home.
  • If you cannot stop the flow of water, drain the system by opening all your hot and cold taps. REMEMBER to remove your sink plug.
  • Switch off your electricity supply at the mains if there is a chance that water could come into contact with electrical wiring or fittings.
  • Call our Contact Centre immediately on 0300 7906 555 who will arrange for an engineer to attend to your repair.
Thawing out your pipes
  • Never attempt to thaw out frozen pipes by switching on your immersion heater or central heating boiler.
  • Check for leaking joints or burst pipes.
  • Use electric fan heaters, only if it is safe to do so, to warm the room where the pipes are frozen to allow them to defrost.
  • Apply a hot water bottle, or a thick cloth soaked in hot water, to pipes to help them defrost. Begin at the end of the pipe (nearest the tap) and work your way along the pipe. If the pipes are frozen in the roof space, only enter the roof space if it is safe to do so.
  • NEVER use a naked flame to defrost pipes.
  • If your waste pipe is frozen, try putting table salt or hot water down the waste outlet.

Photo : frozen pipe

Do you have a frozen condensate pipe?

If a condensing boiler has stopped working it could be a frozen condensate pipe. Defrosting this will enable the customer to reset their boiler and have working heating almost immediately.

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