The last thing anybody needs this time of year is for their central heating or boiler to pack up.
Your pipes are likely to have some water in them, even if your taps aren’t turned on.
When temperatures drop below 0°C, the water within exposed or uninsulated pipework is susceptible to freezing.
This could leave you with limited water supplies as well as leading to boiler damage, cracked or burst pipes, and substantial leaks.
The average cost of repairing household damage due to leaks caused by burst pipes is estimated to be nearly £13,000 so, even in a milder winter, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Lack of water coming out of outlets including taps and showers
Central heating making a gurgling sound
Heating systems in lockout/shut down
Your boiler won’t switch on
The toilet will not flush
When water freezes it can impact structural integrity, leading to burst pipes. The main signs of a burst pipe are puddles, damp patches or large pools of water in multiple areas.
If you have a smart thermostat, use the anti-frost setting to prevent pipes from freezing
Turn your heating on - the price of frozen pipes is significantly higher than the cost of heating your home!
If your radiator valve has a snowflake symbol, set it to a minimal flow between pipes and radiators
Locate internal stop tap and ensure it’s in working order – try to check it still functions every six months
Get your boiler serviced regularly
Install pipe insulation if you’ve not already done so.
Turn off water supply via your stop-tap
Open the taps and run off any remaining water
Drain the pipes to make sure they are completely empty.
Turn off your water mains using your stop-tap
Locate the frozen pipe
Thaw out pipes slowly using a hot water bottle or heated towel/cloth, starting at the end nearest the tap
Avoid using boiling water or naked flames for thawing as there could be unnoticeable splits in the pipe or flammable materials
Only attempt to thaw pipes that are easily accessible and/or at ground level.
Do not touch electrics if these have been affected by water and turn them off via the fuse box /consumer unit box.
Then, once you have turned off the water supply, seek the assistance of a plumbing professional.
Similarly, if you don't know where the frozen pipes are or you can't access the area but suspect that you may have frozen or burst pipes, it is best to call a plumber for assistance.
You can find a high-quality plumbing and heating expert online via the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering’s find a plumber or heating engineer tool.
You can also visit our winter advice pages and search for a WaterSafe-approved plumber on the top right of this page.