Check plumbing now to avoid winter disasters

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...

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It might seem hard to believe as we bask in the Indian Summer sunshine but winter is just around the corner. The long-range weather forecast from the Met Office says we’re in for unsettled weather and spells of frost towards the end of October. Then the clocks go back an hour and before you know it the late autumn weather will have given away to winter.

Perhaps it’s a little early, but checking your plumbing and drainage now and following a few simple tips now could save a lot of frustration later. 

Turning off your central heating in the winter can lead to the system freezing, causing a burst pipe.  Ice in the pipes can put them under immense pressure and both metal and plastic pipes can be affected.  The most vulnerable to damage are pipes in areas exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hoses and water supply pipes in unheated areas like the garage, cellar or attic.

Disconnect external hoses and store them before the onset of winter. Also insulate external taps.

Don’t leave garage doors open where there is a water supply pipe that is likely to freeze.  Pipes can freeze up in a matter of minutes in severely cold weather.

You could add anti-freeze to the water in the central heating system.  Pour anti-freeze into the cistern in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions then drain off enough water to allow it to be drawn into the system.  After restoring the water in the cistern to its correct level, turn on the heating for a short while to allow the anti-freeze to mix thoroughly with the water.

If you suffer regularly from burst pipes invest in some trace heat tape to keep the temperatures of the problem pipes above freezing point.  Wrap the tape around the pipe before lagging it.  One end will be attached to a special block supplied with the tape, the other to the frost thermostat.  As the temperature drops, the thermostat switches on and the tape heats up just enough to prevent the pipes from freezing.

It’s also a good idea to know where your stopcock is. If you are unfortunate to have your pipes freeze then you will need to turn off the water supply to the house. Find the tap which is at the lowest point in the house and turn it on to allow water in the system caused by the thawing ice to drain away. Then find the frozen pipe and gently heat it with a hair dryer to melt the ice. Never use a naked flame to do this.

If you do end up with burst pipes this winter and you need emergency repairs then call a qualified plumber. Drain Doctor technicians are on call 24 hours a day seven days a week and there is no emergency call out charge


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