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Beat the freeze over the festive season

It’s nearly Christmas – and over the last few years there have been a number of festive seasons which have been marred by sudden drops in temperature. After the freeze comes the thaw, and that’s when we see problems, with burst pipes causing water to gush through houses and businesses.

As water freezes, it expands, which can cause pipes to split. When the water thaws, it then pours through the cracks in the pipes. What is particularly worrying at this time of year is that many people go away for Christmas or New Year, which can mean coming back to a catastrophe. We’ve worked with many people to whom this has happened: you can read about their experiences here.

The website www.moneyfacts.co.uk has written an excellent list of a few simple steps you can take to prevent your water pipes from freezing, which include:

  • Keep the heating on: don’t turn the heating off if you’re going away for Christmas or the New Year. It doesn’t have to be a very high temperature – around 12-15 degrees will do – and it can be on a timer. You just have to keep the chill away.
  • Insulate your pipes: including the ones in your loft.
  • Repair dripping taps: if the water dripping then freezes in the drainpipe, this can cause a blockage.
  • Check your stopcock: you need to turn it off quickly in an emergency, so check where it is and check it’s working properly.
  • Let warm air circulate: open up cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom, particularly those against external walls, and also open the hatch to the loft. This allows the warmer air in the house to reach areas which are at risk of freezing.

But let’s hope the freeze doesn’t come.

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