How to thaw your frozen pipes: What to do if your pipes freeze

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Frozen pipes are something that are very common around this time of year. Pipes tend to have a small amount of water in them, even when the taps are not turned on. When the weather plummets to cold temperatures, this water can freeze. What are the signs you should look out for?

Frozen pipes can leave you without running water as well as at risk of bursting and flooding your home.

It can be costly if this were to happen.

Outside pipes, as well as those in unheated areas, such as in an attic, are the most likely pipes to freeze in the home.

Signs of frozen pipes include little or no running water as well as an unpleasant smell coming from the taps or drains.

If you think your pipes may be frozen, there are ways you can try to defrost them yourself.

If these steps don’t work, it may be worth getting in touch with a plumber. 

According to Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), turning on the taps helps to relieve pressure on the system.

By doing this, it can also show you where the problem lies.

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If the problem only affects one tap in the home, the frozen tap may be able to be sorted without the need for a plumber. 

Warming the pipes up by turning on the heating may help thaw the frozen pipes. 

SSE suggests opening your cupboards and loft hatches to let the heating circulate around the pipes. 

For an exposed pipe, like an outside one, thawing it directly may help resolve the issue. 

If you can find the frozen section of pipe, using a hairdryer or wrapping a warm cloth around the frozen section may help to thaw the pipe.

What can you do to help to prevent frozen pipes in the first place?

Insulating water tanks as well as wrapping pipes with sponge covers can help insulate the pipe and stop it from freezing.

When the cold weather sets in, leaving the heating on can help keep the inside air warm.

This will help stop internal pipes from freezing and it doesn’t need to be on a high heat, around 12-15 degrees should do the trick.

Turning taps on and off regularly helps run water through the pipes.

If you haven’t turned on a tap in a room for a while, it might be worth running it for a couple of minutes.

British Gas recommends having your boiler serviced.

Its website reads: “If your heating isn’t working efficiently, the cold spots in your system will be most vulnerable to the cold. So it’s a good idea to have your boiler serviced every year – preferable during the warmer months.

“It’s the best way to prep your pipes and keep your system ready for everything winter has in store.”

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