Home owner guide for preventing and dealing with frozen pipes in the home
Following the recent surge in demand for plumbers through it’s service to deal with emergencies, OnlineTradesmen.ie has today published a basic guide to help Irish home owners address and prevent freezing pipes within their homes for any future cold snaps.
What are the risks of freezing pipes?
It’s a simple fact that when water freezes, it expands. Unfortunately the pipes used for plumbing in your home are often not flexible, resulting in burst pipes and water damage in your home. All homes with poor insulation are at risk (which may apply to most homes built between 2004 - 2010) and any spaces within a home where pipes are exposed to cold air are vulnerable – think exterior walls, attic or roof spaces and cracked wall coverings. If in doubt, you should do a quick survey of your home by following the steps below.
How to you identify freezing pipes?
Unfortunately a frozen pipe does not leak, so there is often no tell-tale sign other than a disrupted water supply– with little or no water coming from your taps. A quick check of your piping may also reveal a frost on the exterior of the pipe in question.
What should you do if your pipes freeze?
- If you suspect your pipes have frozen based on the above, you need to turn off the water supply to your home immediately. You can do this by locating the main stop cock (stop valve) in your house, normally located under the kitchen sink.
- Where possible you should also turn off the water supply from your water tank – this is normally located in your attic. Turn off the stop valve on it’s outlet pipe.
- Finally, turn off all your water heating systems and then turn on your taps to drain the system - this will enable you to minimise any potential water damage from a burst pipe
- At this point you should request a plumber to call out and check your plumbing system for further damage.
What to do if your pipes burst
- Turn off the water supply to your house and water tank as above.
- Where electrics are exposed to water, turn off your electricity supply at the mains.
- If your house is insured, contact your insurance company at this point.
- Get a plumber out as soon as possible.
- Collect any water in buckets to limit the damage
- Puncture the plaster in any bulging ceilings to relieve the pressure and limit damage
How to prevent frozen pipes
- Insulate all exposed water pipes (both internal and external) with foam based or specialist pipe insulation. Exposed pipes include those in attics, external wall cavities and near damaged walls.
Ensure that the heating comes on for a time in unoccupied homes during cold weather spells
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