Pipes usually have a small amount of water in them, even when the taps aren’t turned on. This water can freeze when the temperature drops, leaving households without running water or bust pipes. According to an expert, heating bills can double if frozen pipes are not sorted as soon as the issue occurs.
Jess Steele, heating technology expert at online designer radiator specialists, BestHeating, explained: “If you suspect your pipes are frozen the tell-tale signs to look out for include little to no water coming from taps or showers, exposed pipes appearing frosty or wet and damp patches on walls or ceilings.
“If you spot these signs, turn the water off at the valve and run the remaining water to relieve the pressure. You should temporarily mend the pipe with heavy duty tape but always refer to a qualified plumber to fix the issue.”
If your heating isn’t working efficiently, the cold spots in the system will be the most vulnerable to cold, leading to the risk of burst pipes.
The expert recommended having your boiler serviced regularly to ensure it is working properly and safely to keep the optimum temperature.
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If your boiler has stopped working, it may be because the condensate pipe has frozen. This pipe leads waste water away from the boiler and down a drain.
According to skillstg.co.uk, most are fitted internally but, in some cases, they have to be fitted outside, which can cause the pipe to freeze.
The experts explained: “Find your condensate pipe. A white pipe should protrude from the wall portion located directly behind your boiler.
“You’ll know you have the right pipe if it runs right out from the boiler to an exterior drain. Boil your kettle and let it cool for approximately 15 minutes, you want the water to be warm rather than boiling hot.
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“Starting at the top of the kettle and making your way down the pipe, pour the warm water over your frozen condensate pipe until the ice blocking it has thawed.
“Reset your boiler. Wait a few minutes and check that it is working properly. If you have fully thawed your frozen condensate pipe, everything should be working as normal.”
The best scenario is to “prevent” pipes from freezing in the first place, because if they go unnoticed, they can cause “serious damage” to a home.
The best way to lower chances of dealing with a frozen condensate pipe is to install a pipe that is as large as possible.
The experts said: “Before doing this, you should take a look at the manufacturer’s instructions to see what they recommend.
“Usually, manufacturers will recommend pipes in the range of 32 to 40mm, but it is possible to have an engineer install a thicker pipe if you have to deal with extremely cool temperatures, where thinner pipes might not cut it.”
If you are in the process of purchasing a new boiler, try to choose one that features a siphon trap. The expert said this type of condensate release flushes out the water in one go.
This lowers the risk of freezing. Most boilers release the water in long drawn-out drips, meaning more water is present for longer, making it more likely that a freeze will occur.