If you find you've got no water it's worth checking with your neighbours first to see if they're experiencing the same problem as there might be an incident such as a burst mains water pipe that has affected water supplies in your area.
Stopping pipes from freezing is never easy, here are some things that you can do to help though;
At the onset of colder weather my 1st tip would be to open any hatch door to the attic if you have one, it doesn't need to be fully open, just enough to let some heat up in to the space and in this way the temeprature will remain that little bit higher and avoid what may occur below.
There are some kits available that help to heat the pipes and generally will never let the temperature fall below a critical level, they are electrical and are set to come on when the temperature falls to a certain level, these have only recently become available so take a look into them on-line as they are value for much money when you consider the damage that could be done by a leaking water pipe.
The signs of a frozen pipe: If you turn a tap on and only a trickle of water - or no water - comes out, chances are a pipe has frozen.
Pipes located near exterior walls or in attic areas without insulation are the prime suspects.
- Your first step is to turn off the main stop-cock to your home, if you don't know where it is, find out. Check it is safe to turn off the water, particularly if you have a combi boiler, but this is the best way to minimise damage if a pipe does burst.
- Next, check that no pipes have burst, they may not actually be leaking water because the ice has not yet melted. If you discover one that has, call a licensed plumber or heating engineer.
- Leave the trickling tap open - along with any others that are just trickling, running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
When checking your home, if you locate a pipe that's definitely frozen but hasn't burst you can try to thaw it manually and gently using a hair dryer or sealed portable heater but absolutely not an electric fire!
Towels soaked in hot water can also help. Never use an open flame or blowtorch.
Your aim is to find the ice blockage and defrost it safely before it splits the pipe, you'll know when you've succeeded because the water will flow freely from the tap again but do keep a careful watch for any leaks.
If your tap won't flow but you can't find the pipe it may be hidden or inaccessible, this is a real danger so contact a licensed plumber for help.
Ice can burst a pipe but it's the thaw that causes the damage.
If you're unfortunate enough to be in your house when a pipe bursts go directly to the stop-cock, whatever damage the water flow could cause will be limited if the mains flow is stopped.
Now, if you have Home Emergency cover which is normally shown on your policy schedule, call the 24 hour Home Emergency number provided, normally on the back of your policy booklet.
No Home Emergency cover?, call a licensed plumber then call your insurer - but always take steps to control and reduce the damage first.
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