Preventing Frozen Pipes & How to Spot & Fix Them

frozen pipes

Frozen pipes in your property can be a problem during the winter months, bringing freezing and icy cold conditions, which can mean frozen pipes in your property. If not found and treated, it can leave you with no water and cause the pipes to burst.

Here is our advice in preventing pipes from freezing, as well as finding and fixing them.

Finding Frozen Pipes

Some signs that you might have frozen pipes are:

  • Visual ice, frost, cracks or condensation over piping is the most obvious sign
  • Reduced running water – if no water or a limited amount of water is coming from your taps, showers or anywhere that supplies water
  • Smells – strange smells may come from your taps and drains, which could be an indication of a frozen pipes
  • The boiler isn’t working – if this happens during cold months this may a common sign
  • Sounds – bubbling sound when flushing the toilet chain or whistling or banging sounds could be due to pipes being damaged from freezing
  • Damp – frozen pipes can cause leaks creating damp around surfaces of your property or puddles of water

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Checking and forming regular habits in the winter can be the difference between frozen pipes and no frozen pipes.

Water UK have shared their tips to prevent pipes from freezing:

  • Insulating lag pipes and water tanks using lagging material available from most DIY stores
  • Ensure there aren’t any gaps or bends in valves and pipes
  • Regularly check water pipes and tanks in unheated spaces or unoccupied properties, such as the loft or a garage
  • Your boiler should be serviced annually
  • By finding your property’s internal stopcock or valve you will know where to go if it needs shutting off if the pipes are frozen and are being fixed. (These can normally found under the kitchen sink)
  • If away for a long period of time, keep the heating on low and get a neighbour to check occasionally
  • If it will be unoccupied for a long amount of time, think about turning off the stopcock and draining all remaining water so that there is no water to freeze
  • Close outside windows and doors to unheated areas
  • Open the loft hatch if possible to allow warm air to circulate through
  • Fix any dripping or trickling taps as soon as possible

How to Fix a Frozen Pipe

While you should always call a professional or a plumber to assess the situation and fix the issue, there are ways to fix your frozen pipes yourself and then call a professional.

Curing a frozen pipe is by simply thawing the affected areas.

Firstly, it is best to thaw pipes slowly so that no damage will be made to the pipes, causing further issues.

The most effective way of thawing is by using heat. This shouldn’t be confused with using devices that can be extremely hot and dangerous. This includes, blowtorches or kerosene heaters. These can be a fire hazard and cause major damage to the pipes.

Instead, use electric heat pads to wrap around the pipes, using a hairdryer on a low heat or by using hot towels. These need to still be regularly monitored that is not causing any damage.

Leaving faucets open will help with the process of thawing as water needs to be running through the pipes to help it thaw quicker. For pipes under the sink, the cabinet door should be left open to allow warm air to circulate.

If you suspect that the frozen pipe is somewhere that you cannot reach immediately, don’t attempt anything yourself. Call a professional such as CPL t/a Rainbow International on 0800 030 4360 to investigate the situation and advise on which action to take.

We can help to find the leak using the latest leak detection equipment, clean-up any water damage & fix the burst pipe. We also offer a range of building drying solutions to get your property back to pre-incident condition.