As temperatures plummet, it's worth keeping a close eye on your homes water pipes. Frozen and burst water pipes are not uncommon this time of year, and its highly recommended to pay particular attention to identifying how to avoid or treat frozen pipes.

What to do if your pipes freeze?

1.Look out for the warning signs

·         Your central heating makes gurgling sounds when it’s on

·         Your boiler won’t turn on

·         There’s no water coming out of your taps, or just a trickle

·         Your sink is clogged, and your toilet is flushing slowly

2. Find the frozen pipe

  •  If you have a modern condensing boiler, it’ll most likely be your condensate pipe. This will be a plastic one that comes out of your boiler – find where it goes outside to see if it’s frosted over. Any outdoor pipe can be at risk during icy weather, as are the ones that pass through any cold spots in the house – like lofts, basements and cupboards that sit on external walls.

3. Thaw the pipe

·         Slowly pour hot (but never boiling) water over the frozen pipe and place a hot water bottle over it to help melt away the ice.

4. Make your electrics safe

·         If there’s a chance that any electrics have got wet, turn the power off at the mains. Let them dry off completely and have them checked by a qualified electrician before turning them back on.

5. Call a registered plumber or manager

·         Always find a fully qualified plumber to carry out repairs. Refer to your key fob for the plumber contact details

So how can you stop pipes from freezing?

1. Encourage warm air flow and shut out the cold

  • If you have pipes and tanks in unheated loft spaces, open the hatch during icy weather to allow the warm air from downstairs to rise and keep the chill off.

  • If some of your pipes or tanks are located inside cupboards, open the cupboard doors so the air from warmer parts of your home can circulate around them.

  • When it’s frosty outside, have the heating set for different times of the day – even if no-one’s home. Or keep the heating on a constant low temperature and increase as needed when you are home.

  • Block out any chilly breezes by keeping windows closed, sealing draughty edges and using draught excluders on doors.

How to avoid frozen and burst pipes?

1.Fix any leaking taps

  • Leaky taps can cause your drains to freeze and water to back up to your sink, leading to an overflow.

  • Ensure make sure that your taps are always fully off and have them fixed if they’re persistent drippers.

2.Remind yourself where your stopcock is

  • Familiarise yourself with the location of your stopcock, clear the area around it for easy access, and use it immediately if you spot a leaky pipe.

Water Stopcock - In the event of a major leak

o   Shut off the cold-water supply by turning off the mains stopcock.

o   Turn the tap clockwise to close off the water.

o   Typically, the stop cock will be under the main sink (Kitchen), or in the basement.

o   If you can’t locate the mains stopcock, please contact your property manager.

3. Turn off the water if you’re going away

  • If your home will be unoccupied for more than a few days during the colder months, you might want to turn your water off at the stopcock. It might even be worth draining the water in your system by running the taps until they’re empty. Just remember to close them again once you’ve finished.

  • If you’re still worried about your pipework when the cold weather rolls in, here are a few tell-tale signs to look out for:

    • Little or no water coming from your taps or shower.

    • Exposed pipes that appear frosty or wet.

    • Unusual noises coming from your system when you flush the toilet or use your sink. Bubbling or whistling sounds could be a sign of air trying to escape your pipes through a blockage.

    • Damp patches or rings on walls or ceilings.