Burst Pipes: How to prevent them


Burst Pipes: How to prevent them When the cold weather hits the water pipes supplying your home can freeze. As Ireland experiences some of the coldest weather in living memory, with record temperatures plummeting below minus 10, the possibility of household water pipes freezing is now even more probable. So how do you stop split pipes and unwanted leaks from happening?

The thing about a burst pipe is that a leak usually only happens once the thaw sets in. Not only that but the leak is more than likely to be out of sight i.e. often enough in your attic or loft, so you only realise there’s a problem when its a little too late. But by taking simple precautions, you can try to avoid the inconvenience and expense burst pipes cause.


Here’s how to avoid the problem:

  • First off, make sure pipes and tanks are properly insulated.
  • Pipes under floors and in garages, lofts and cupboards are especially vulnerable.
  • If possible, close off the water supply to outside taps, or insulate these with some horticultural fleece or a Jiffy bag.
  • Repair dripping taps as they can cause waste pipes to freeze.
  • Repair faulty ball valves that drip waste water. They can allow overflows to freeze.
  • Make sure you know where your stopcock is, so you can shut off the water supply in case of a leak.
  • Keep a list of useful numbers handy in case of emergency. Include your plumber, gas installer, electrician and doctor.

If you are going away / are away during the cold spell

  • Ask someone to look after the house / check in on your house.
  • Some recommend to consider leaving the heating on at a low level / low temperature. This may sound extravagant and expensive but some believe by doing this it would be less costly than sorting out the fallout from a burst pipe.
  • Leave the hatch to the loft open in very cold weather, so warm air can circulate.

If your pipes do freeze

  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Check for signs of splitting or cracks in water pipes.
  • Do not draw any water without checking with a plumber.
  • Gently warm frozen pipes by putting a cloth dampened with warm water or a hot water bottle around the pipe.

If your pipes burst

  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Turn on cold taps to drain the system.
  • Turn off the central heating and any water heating systems, then drain the system by turning on hot taps.
  • If the leak is near electrical appliances or plugs, turn off the electrical supply at the mains.
  • Try to soak up the flood with towels.
  • Call a plumber!

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