5 winter plumbing tips

If you notice any leaks or puddles around your pipes and faucets, get them seen to in the autumn, as the damage will only worsen once the cold sets in.

If your plumbing is in good working order, keep it that way by following our top five winter maintenance tips.

1. Clear out your gutters and downpipes

Winter pipe problems often arise after the autumn leaves have left their trees…and snuggled themselves into your gutters.

If you can reach debris safely, remove any that has built up in external pipes and guttering. However, if the accumulation is severe, too deep or dangerous to grasp, a professional jet wash may be required.

Prevent blockages occurring again next year by fitting gutter guards, which will collect any fallen leaves before they get inside your pipes.

2. Disconnect garden hoses and drain outdoor water supplies

Ice can form in a garden hose that has been left connected. This can cause pressure to build up in the pipes inside your house, potentially leading to a serious leak or breakage.

To drain outside pipes during cold bouts, you’ll need to utilise the shut-off valves inside your home, which are usually located under sinks, in crawl spaces or in basements.

3. Buy blankets for your pipes

Yes, really! When temperatures plummet, the water inside your pipes can freeze and the pipe itself can burst – and burst pipes spell disaster for your home’s interior and your pocket.

Foam tubes with a split in the side are available from most hardware shops. Simply cut to length and wrap them around your pipes to reduce the risk of freezing – some will be self-adhesive, but if not, thick tape will secure them.

4. Heat the inside of your home

Pipes inside the walls will be less likely to freeze if you keep warm air circulating within your home.

Open cabinets under your sink to encourage warm air to surround these pipes and faucets too.

5. Remove snow from your drains

If water drainage is restricted by snow (or worse, ice), flooding can ensue.

Keep a shovel at hand to remove any snow that is getting in the way of your drain system.

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