Everyone at some point in their lives will need a plumber- it’s a fact. What are the most common reasons for this?

Top of the list is possibly the Burst Pipe.

This is easier said than done but-Don’t Panic! The first thing to do is turn off all stop valves (sometimes called stop cocks) to stop the water passing the point of the leak. These are more commonly found under the kitchen sink. If you can’t locate an internal valve, find the external valve, which may be under a cover in your garden or path and turn off the water there.

If the escaping water cannot be controlled immediately, turn on all the cold water taps so that the pipework and storage system drains quickly. DO NOT TURN ON HOT TAPS. it is important to turn off the central heating system and, if it is a solid fuel boiler system, allow the fire to die out. Switch off any electric immersion heater, then call a professional plumber.


Frozen Pipes

If you wake up one morning and your pipes have frozen, turn off the mains water supply at the stop valve inside the house. If the frozen pipe running from the storage cistern has split, empty the cold water storage cistern by opening all the cold water taps and flushing the WC. If the pipe isn’t split, thaw it out by applying hot water bottles. If pipes are split- call a plumber.

If any part of the hot water system is frozen, there is a risk of explosion if the boiler (or other heat source) is kept alight, so ensure it is turned off, or for solid fuel systems, extinguish the fire. Be aware that although water may be flowing from taps, other parts of the system may still be frozen.

Simple rules to follow:-

  • Don’t try to thaw it too quickly as there may be splits in the pipe which are not immediately noticeable.
  • Never use a naked flame to thaw a pipe.
  • Always start thawing a pipe at the end nearest the tap.

As with most major systems being aware of the problems beforehand may prevent these major disasters from occurring. There’s not much we can do about the cold weather but keeping an eye on the pipes could save you time, money and a whole lot of discomfort.