What do I do if I have a frozen pipe?
It’s easy to panic when you get a frozen pipe but the key to remaining calm is being prepared. Follow these steps to minimise damage and get everything back to normal as soon as possible.
Check with your neighbours
If your water supply stops suddenly you should check whether this problem is isolated to your house by talking to your neighbours. If your neighbours don’t have water either there might be an incident such as a burst mains water pipe affecting water supplies in your area.
Close your stop tap
Although pipes are damaged when they freeze, you’re only going to notice that they’ve burst when the water in the pipe thaws. So if you’ve got a frozen pipe you need to first isolate the area affected by closing your stop tap.
Run the taps
To reduce the damage caused by water escaping through a burst pipe, you should drain the plumbing system by running your taps into sinks, basins and baths, once the frozen pipe begins to thaw.
Back up and running
Once the pipes have thawed and you’re sure there aren’t any leaks from burst pipes you should stop running the taps and slowly open the stop tap. Then, once it’s under pressure, check the plumbing system for leaks.
Don’t turn on your water heating appliance until you’re satisfied all the pipe-work is thawed. If you spot a leak, you should isolate the affected pipe by closing the stop tap, then call a plumber.
Top tips to avoid making things worse
• Wait until the system has completely thawed before switching on water heating appliances, including boilers and immersion heaters. Applying sudden heat will put you at risk of a burst pipe. If you need some heat use sources that are connected to the plumbing or central heating such as gas, solid fuel or electric heaters.
• Don’t use a naked flame to thaw pipes. You can use a hairdryer but the pipe may burst as it thaws and spray water. Start thawing a pipe at the end nearest the tap first.
Find an approved plumber on the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering’s website or here
To get ready for the winter take a look at our winter protection range including pipe lagging, tap guards and you can even order your sledge in time for the next round of snow.