Protect your pipes and your property
A burst pipe can cause serious damage to the structure of your home, electrical wiring, as well as damage to contents like carpets and electrical equipment. Here are some simple tips to help protect your home from the cold.
Preventing burst pipes:
- Inspect your pipes, looking for moisture around the joints and discolouration of the pipes or surrounding walls or floors.
- Check the pipes in your loft and outside the house and make sure they’re properly lagged to stop them freezing. While you’re in the loft, check your cold water tank too.
- To keep your pipes in good condition, lubricate stopcocks and valves with thin oil. Then turn them on and off to make sure they don’t seize up, and fix any dripping taps.
- Find where the stopcock is so you can turn the water off quickly in an emergency. In most homes it’s under the kitchen sink, below the stairs or in the basement.
- If you’re going away for a while, leave your heating on at a low level on a timer so that water in the pipes shouldn’t get cold enough to freeze. Also remember to remove the hatch to your loft to let warm air circulate.
What to do if a pipe does burst:
- Turn the water off at the main stopcock straightaway to minimise the damage. Then switch off the central heating and other water heating installations to avoid further damage and open all the taps to drain the system.
- A sign that pipes are frozen or have burst is if taps and showers aren’t working, and there are problems with the heating.
- If you find a frozen pipe, open the tap nearest to the potentially frozen part, so the water can flow through when it’s melted. Thaw the ice in the pipe with a hot water bottle or hairdryer (keep it away from any water).
- If water leaks near the electrics or electrical appliances, switch off the mains immediately. If they’re wet, don’t touch them. If there is any damage, call your broker.
Staying safe on the roads
Preparing your car now for when the bad weather hits, can reduce your chances of being involved in an accident or breaking down.
- Check your car is in good working condition before setting off, particularly the lights, oil and water, and top up your fuel.
- Check your tyre treads; the deeper the better for keeping control on snow and ice.
- Fill your washers with screen wash to avoid freezing – never try to defrost your windscreen with hot water as you could crack it.
- Stock up with a few essentials such as a de-icer, ice scraper, blanket, torch, gloves, boots, old carpet/car mat, shovel and a hot flask.
- When you’re driving, always leave plenty of space between you and the car in front – stopping in snow and ice can take up to 10 times the usual distance.
- Drive gently. To avoid wheel spinning, accelerate very gently and if you start to skid, pump your brakes to stop the wheels locking.
- If the forecast or conditions are bad, only drive if your journey is absolutely necessary.
For more information please contact MRIB:
Call: 01494 455 666