Winter Tips

The last three winters in the UK have been the most severe that we have known for a long time.  In 2009 and 2010 we had very cold spells that ran into a few weeks where the temperature never rose above freezing. This resulted in many people’s pipes freezing.  This winter is following a similar pattern!

When water freezes it expands and in the enclosed space of a pipe it  has nowhere to go.  Eventually the pressure will cause a split in the pipe.  Even though copper pipes can take a lot of pressure the most frequent fractures occur at joints, where there is already a weakness.

Simple actions to protect your home:

  • Insulate your hot water tank and pipes. This will cost about £25 and can save you around £55 per year. You can now buy expanded foam insulation for pipes which is shaped in the form of cylinders with a split down one side.

Simply clip the foam insulation over the pipe in strips and secure with twine, taking care to make sure that all joints are well covered.

Another alternative is to wrap insulation material around the pipes. Either form of insulation can also be used for pipes that run on the outside of the house, or drainage pipes that come out of showers or sinks.

  • If the temperature is consistently below 4 degrees leave your heating on through the night and day at a slightly lower temperature setting to stop pipes from freezing. 
  • If you are planning to go away for winter still have your heating come on twice a day for at least an hour each time.
  • Have a friend or neighbour look after your home while you are away.  Should you suffer a burst pipe it will be detected sooner rather than later.
  • Locate your stop tap.

Simple actions to cut your bills:

  • If it’s very cold use your timer to set your heating to come on earlier and go off later rather than turning the thermostat up.
  • Use the thermostatic valves on your radiators to control the temperature in each room.
  • Check for draughts around windows and doors. Draught-proofing materials are inexpensive and can be bought at your local DIY store.
  • Remember to close your curtains at dusk
  • Close internal doors to keep heat in the rooms you are using.
  • Turn your radiators off in unused rooms.
  • Pull furniture away from radiators or heaters to let heat circulate around your rooms.

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