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5 Steps to protect your plumbing and heating before winter

Easy jobs you can do now that may save you problems, and money, later in the year

Although still mild, the weather is slowly becoming more autumnal and the days are getting noticeably shorter. The countdown to winter will soon seem to speed up as the clocks go back this weekend and it will be dark at 5pm.

Nothing poses as big a challenge to our plumbing and heating systems as cold weather and less daylight means more chance of freezing as the temperature turns cooler once the sun goes down. Don’t worry though, there are 5 key things that you can do now that will ensure you are prepared for winter weather.

1. Check the heating is working

Some may have their heating back on already, but many may be holding out a while longer. This is one of our busiest times of the year as many discover that things aren’t quite working as they should when they switch it back on after being off all summer. If you haven’t taken the plunge yet then it’s a good idea to just give it a try so you can see whether there are any issues. If there are, it may not be anything major – you can check our blog here on simple things you can try before having to call in a tradesman. If you have tried these and are still having some problems, then at least you have time to get things sorted by calling in a heating engineer before the weather gets really cold.

If your boiler has not been serviced in more than a year, now is a really good time to attend to that as well. In addition to making sure it’s running ok, it will help it stay efficient which could save you some money on energy over the winter months.

2. Lag outdoor pipes

Sometimes winters are mild and sometimes they are bitter cold! All houses have water pipes that extend outside the property, to bring water in and expel wastewater. The water inside them can easily freeze in very cold weather. When water freezes it expands and this can lead to burst pipes or blockages. Don’t forget indoor pipes in unheated areas, such as cellars.

A really easy way of preventing this is to lag your pipes to insulate them and protect them from the cold. Lagging is cheap to buy from any DIY shop.

3. Clear drains

Falling leaves and dirt and rubbish washed into drains at this time of year can lead to them getting quite clogged up. Heavy rainfall and melting snow later in the year can cause flooding if there’s nowhere for water to drain away so check yours and clear them if required. A drain cover is a good way of preventing items falling in there in the future.

4. Shut off outside tap

Most people don’t use their outside tap very much over the winter once their garden watering duties are over. As outside taps are usually on an isolated shut off valve it’s really easy to turn them off for the winter without affecting your mains water to the house. This will prevent it freezing up in cold weather as there won’t be any water in it to freeze. Just remember to expel any water sitting in the pipe once you’ve turned the valve off. If you don't have an isolation valve for the outside tap, then just lag it in the same way as your pipes.

5. Consider smart heating

Heating our homes is one of the biggest household expenses we have and anything that enables us to save energy is good for saving money and for reducing your carbon footprint. Smart heating technology can help you use energy more efficiently and tailor your use to your exact needs. Devices like smart meters and systems like Hive and Nest can help you manage this. As we head into winter, now is a good time to consider whether they could help you use energy more wisely. You can read more about this here.

If you find that you do need the services of a plumber or heating engineer to help you get ready for winter you can call us on 0800 032 6478 or contact us via the website. We’d be happy to help.

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