Preparing your pipes for the winter months
It’s never too early to prepare your pipes for winter. If your business is quieter than usual or still closed due to lockdown, why not take this time to do so – you might have given the place a lick of paint, why not check on your pipes at the same time?
Winter brings the cold and with that, water inside exposed pipework and garden taps can freeze. Then once frozen water turns to ice, it expands. This can cause the pressure in the pipes to increase, which could stretch and damage pipework and taps, leading to leaks and bursts when the it gets warmer. To read our post about testing for leaks click here.
If you want to prepare for the colder months here are some things you can do to protect your pipes now.
Identifying your water pipes
Before protecting any water pipes from the elements, you should check which ones carry water. You can do this by running the water and if the pipe vibrates, then it’s a water pipe.
Cover the pipes!
Wrap your pipes with lagging, this is the best things you can do to protect them. It’s a simple job to do, and you’ll be able to buy pipe lagging from your local DIY store all year round. Most lagging is made to fit 15mm pipe, but if you don’t know how thick your pipes are click here to check the size of your pipes using the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme tool.
Most DIY shops are doing click and collect or delivery at the minute, too. When lagging you should protect any water pipe that could be exposed to cold weather, think warehouses, cellars, outside pipes. To fit the lagging, measure the length of lagging you need and cut down to size with some sharp scissors. Next, fit the lagging over the pipes, making sure the seam joins together. It’s recommended lagging should be secured with adhesive tape to make sure cold air can’t get to the pipe. If you want, you can also use sturdy cloth tape or insulation tape to help cover the joins and make them look lovely and neat. Lagging prevents them home freezing in the first place so it’s worthwhile taking the time to do it.
Cover your outdoor tap
Garden and outdoor taps are also vulnerable to the elements. When a tap is frozen it can increase the risk of a burst pipe but when covered the risk is reduced. Outdoor tap covers should be available at your local DIY store. Don’t forget to lag the pipes leading up to the tap too!
There’s no water coming through, now what?
If you’ve got no water coming through, you should ask your neighbours to see if they have water. If they’re also unable to run water, there may be a supply interruption in your area. In this case, you'll need to contact your wholesaler. If your neighbours can run their taps and get water, then it’s likely your pipes have frozen. If this happens you should turn off your water supply at your stop tap and begin to thaw your pipes by applying a soft heat to the pipes like a warm towel to try and fix it and get the water moving again. When thawing your pipes make sure you move the heat source along the pipe to prevent any damage or crack occurring. Turn the water supply back on at the stop tap, and check to see if your water is flowing again. If you still aren’t getting any water through you should contact a plumber. You can find an approved local plumber on the Watersafe website.