‘Warning signs’ your pipes are frozen – item you should ‘never’ use

How to stop your water pipes from freezing

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A frozen pipe can cause a plethora of problems including leaks and even flooding if it’s not fixed. A frozen pipe and what happens when it bursts can be “catastrophic”, according to an expert from British Gas.

With this in mind, experts from British Gas have shared what to do if a pipe freezes or bursts during cold weather.

The expert explained when a pipe freezes, pressure is put on the pipe causing it to “buckle” and “split”.

In order to know when this is going to happen, homeowners need to know the “warning signs”.

The expert said: “Look for the warning signs such as is central heating making a gurgling sound, your boiler won’t switch on, the tap produced little or no water, the sink is clogged or the toilet flushes slowly.”

Next, homeowners need to locate the frozen pipe. It could be the condensate pipe which goes from the boiler through the wall to the outside of your property.

How to unfreeze pipes

To clear the blockage, use hot water but “never” boiling water. Pour it over the affected area and the blockage should clear.

Alternatively, a hot water bottle can be used as a warm compress on any pipe exposed to cold weather.

For those who don’t own a hot water bottle, homeowners can use towels soaked in hot water.

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Naked flames or blowtorches should always be avoided because direct heat could damage the pipes permanently.

Any pipe exposed to the cold could be the culprit but check other unheated places like the attic or basement where other pipes might be found.

Burst pipes

Most people will picture water all over the floor, water gushing out of walls or a flooded bathroom when it comes to burst pipes.

However, a burst pipe could easily be a small leak which is a lot less dramatic but can be just as devastating.

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If you think you’ve got a leak, there are a couple of things to look out for.

Some of the issues include persistent water pressure issues or interrupted water supply to your taps, watermarks or patches appearing on the walls and ceilings, bulging on the walls or ceilings or damp patches could be appearing on the floor.

A flood or leak

If there definitely is a flood or leak, find out where the stopcock is and turn off the water supply and turn off the central heating.

Turn on all your taps and drain the system and make sure there’s no water in the pipes.

Turn the power off at the mains and be aware of any appliances that may have been affected by water.

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Make sure they’re switched off, dried out and checked by a qualified electrician.

Cleaning up will all depend on how severe the floods or leak was. If you can do it yourself, make sure you’ve documented any damaged items that you’re going to claim for.

If it’s more critical, you may need to wait for an insurance adjuster.

In the meantime, remove any undamaged furniture away from the area.

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