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Tis the Season for Leaks

As we are coming to the harsh winter months in the UK. We will see that dreaded minus (-) symbol in front of the thermometer or car dash staring back at you while you are sat shivering. You know what this means for your house and its heating… raised bills and potential unexpected leaks and drips from pipes throughout your house.

As the majority of houses in the UK still have copper pipes with soldered joints there is always potential for movement. When the weather is cold and your pipes are in an exposed place such as an un-insulated area or near an outside wall, the copper will expand and contract. This is where you get movement from the soldered joints, and leaks occur. There are a few things you can do to prevent these leaks happening and destroying your home.

  • Put your heating on regularly, even when you are not at home as a cold house is more prone to leaking pipes in freezing temperatures. Just set your timer for the heating to come on for a few hours morning and night.
  • Insulate your outside tap as this is one of the main culprits for causing leaks. You need to lag any exposed pipe work that runs along the wall to the outside tap. And for the tap its self you need to insulate it, there is a few products on the market you can get from DIY centres that are purpose-made for wrapping your tap up to protect it against the harsh weather.
  • You should always check your pipe work that is in your loft as this can be one of the coldest places in your whole house. Ensure you check that the pipes are well insulated! If the pipes are covered with the standard rock-wool insulation that’s in your loft, this will help.
  • If you have a system boiler you will have a water storage tank in your loft space. This is prone to the freezing temperatures as well as the pipes leading from it. Make sure your water storage tank is insulated and always apply lagging to the exposed pipes running from the tank to the cylinder.
  • Your pipes are at risk if you have your boiler in the garage or in an outhouse building. Any pipes coming from the boiler should have lagging to cover them over. This also applies if your boiler is on a single skin wall (One brick or block thick, with no cavity).

Pipe lagging can be a few different materials like the rock-wool you use in lofts and Glass Wool. The most modern and easy to use for pipe lagging is Rigid Foam as you can see in the image to the right. This is so cheap and easy to use, you can buy it from most DIY stores and any plumbers’ merchants will sell it. To use the lagging all you have to do is feed it over the pipe, it comes with a cut down the centre of the foam so you can push it over the pipe. You can also cut the foam on any angle to go around corners to leave no section of pipe exposed.

As you can see, it’s relatively quick and easy to ensure you keep your pipes in tip-top condition throughout the cold winter months. But if you do get a leak and you need a plumber ASAP call 0800 032 6478.

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