Frozen water pipes are a common problem during the colder months in the UK. It doesn’t necessarily always happen at the dead end of winter though. A particularly cold snap running through where you live can be enough to create havoc if you don’t take preventative steps to avoid piping problems.

Here are a few common signs to look out for, some prevention tips, and things to consider when fixing frozen pipes should it happen to you.

What causes pipes to burst?

When the water is much colder than during the summer, it can cause pipes to flex and contract. The repeated contractions that happen to the pipes stress their structural material until eventually it develops a crack - usually at the seam if it has one.

Look for any water leaks where there shouldn’t be any

Inspect the ground level of your home to look for any leaking water where there shouldn’t be any. While some pipes will be underground that feed into your home, it’s still possible to see where the pipes enter the property and connect to internal water piping that carries water supplies the rest of the way. Check for leakage both at the pipe entry points, any valves and where pipes interconnect.

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Are the pipes frozen solid?

Run some water to see if the pipes have frozen up. If they have, that could apply to the pipes within your home or under the property. To prevent water from becoming still in the pipes under the property, it’s sometimes worth considering whether to run some water on a regular basis at a low rate. This can keep water gently flowing and stop the water supply remaining stagnant where it can freeze where it sits.

With kitchens, where the pipes are located inside floor-level cabinets against an exterior wall, open the cabinet doors to let warmer air from the home flow inside. Keeping the kitchen intentionally warmer is useful to stop pipes installed against a cold wall from freezing up.

In the rest of the home, try to make sure the temperature never dips below 12 degrees to prevent frozen pipes. Set your heater’s thermostat accordingly to avoid any area of the home becoming a point of vulnerability.

Fixing frozen pipes

Should you have a frozen pipe problem, the first thing to do is try to warm it up. Pipe insulation works well to keep pipes warmer. Wrapping internal water pipes to thaw out the pipe that’s frozen is effective as well, but do so carefully.

For pipes that have burst, it depends on the material whether they can be fixed or not. With greater water pressure, any fix is less likely to hold. In which case, you’ll need to order some new supplies to isolate the area, turn off the water supply and replace the frozen pipe. It depends where the pipe is located as to how accessible it is because it could also be underground.

To get supplies sent using express delivery, our delivery service here at R&J Builders Hardware can get you what you need. Orders over £50 can be sent free of charge too. This way, you can fix a frozen or burst pipe issue sooner.