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Winter walks, and hot chocolates by a warm fire – winter is certainly a beautiful season. However, plummeting temperatures can bring a plethora of problems to your home, especially when it comes to keeping it heated.


In the UK, one of the major issues you might gave at this time of year is the threat of frozen pipes. No one wants to wake up one frosty morning to discover a lack of heating and running water, but the real nightmare begins when frozen pipes succumb to pressure and burst. Here are some of the signs your pipes might be at risk of freezing and bursting, and advice on how to solve the problem.


How Do You Get Frozen Pipes


When you’re not using water, your pipes still have water in them. When the temperatures drop low enough – to 0˚C – the water in them will freeze. As the ice then expands and takes up more space in the pipe, it can push any remaining liquid water to the taps. The build-up of pressure between the ice and the liquid water can cause a pipe to rupture and split.


Some of the main reasons why pipes can freeze include:

  • Pipes are not lagged (or insulated) properly
  • A lack of insulation in the loft
  • The heating is turned off when you’re not home and the temperature drops
  • The heating is being set for very short periods


How Can I Tell if I Have Frozen Pipes?


tap dripping due to frozen pipeThe first and most obvious sign is that you’ll have no water flowing or just a trickle when you turn on your taps. You might also find that you can’t flush the toilet, your boiler won’t work or it’s making gurgling noises. If you suspect a frozen pipe, don’t panic—there are steps you can take to prevent it from bursting.


  1. Identify the frozen pipe – Typically, this is the condensate pipe in modern condensing boilers. This plastic pipe extends from the boiler, so check outside to see if it’s frosted over. Be aware that outdoor pipes and those passing through cold areas like lofts, basements, and cupboards against external walls are susceptible to becoming frozen during icy weather.
  2. Thaw the frozen pipe – Gently pour hot – but not boiling – water over the frozen section. You could try a hot water bottle on the pipe to facilitate the melting of ice first.


Signs That You Have a Burst Pipe


A burst pipe may not be as conspicuous as a flooded kitchen. But a gradual leak, if left unattended, can inflict significant harm to your home and electrical systems. Here’s how to identify a burst pipe:


  • Irregular water pressure or difficulties with water flow
  • Water marks or stains on your walls or ceilings
  • Walls or ceilings that appear swollen or bulging
  • Damp patches on the floor


What To Do if Your Frozen Pipes Have Burst


You need to act quickly to stop the flow of water and prevent any or further damage. Follow these steps:


  1. Turn off your mains water supply via your stop tap. Then, turn off your boiler and drain both by opening the hot and colds taps.
  2. Next, turn off the electricity. If your mains junction box is near water, leave the house immediately and call an electrician.
  3. Now call a plumber as you will need professional help to get the issue repaired. Don’t use the water or heating until the plumber has been and shared their advice.


How Can We Help?


If you find your pipes have burst, Metro Plumb can assist. We have depots throughout the UK and we have experienced plumbers available 24/7. Contact the team today on 0808 250 9949 or make an enquiry here.

9th January 2024   |    Blogs