Drains and Drainage in the Winter
Advice for keeping drains clear and working in the winter months
During the cold, long winter months your drains and plumbing can take some severe punishment from the frost, snow and bitterly cold weather. If this happens, serious damage can result, putting your property at risk.
The most common winter plumbing problem is a burst pipe
Every day water flows through you water pipes and unless they are well insulated, there is a better than average chance that they could freeze up and burst. This usually happens when you are away over the Christmas period because water has sat in the pipes undisturbed for a while giving it time to freeze. A burst pipe can cause very serious structural damage and cost a fortune to repair.
To prevent this happening we thought we would offer you a few precautionary measures that can be taken. These should offer a degree of protection from winter damage.
- Try to keep the central heating at a minimum 12C-15C, if a freeze is on the way.
- Remember to leave doors open on kitchen and bathroom cabinets that contain water pipes. This will allow warmer air to circulate and reach the pipes.
- Turn off the water supply to outside taps. Turn off the mains water at the stopcock unless you have a combi boiler that requires constant mains pressure.
- If you do return to frozen pipes, use only gentle heat, such as towels soaked in warm water, to try to thaw them.
- If you are away for a long time over the winter, it may be worth draining your cold water system.
- Leave the loft hatch door open as allowing warmer air to reach the loft can help prevent the cold tank from freezing.
- Insulate pipes in the attic and crawl spaces as these exposed pipes are the most likely to freeze. Lag your cold water tank.
Drains are also at risk in the winter
A lot of what needs doing to protect your drains in the colder months can be achieved on a DIY basis, however, it is always worth calling in the professionals like Premier Drainage if you are at all unsure.
Always try to prevent blockages in the drains and drainage system
One of the main things to remember during the winter is that if the flow of water in your drains is inhibited at any point, it’s far more likely to back up and block. To reduce the chance of this happening, ensure the drains are kept as free from debris as possible. Regularly clear leaves, twigs and other debris from the gutters and gullies, use a grate of some kind to cover any open gullies. It’s also very important to avoid putting cooking fat and grease down the drains as they can easily congeal in the pipes and cause blockages.
Avoid frozen drainage pipes
Frozen drain pipes can burst or crack in winter for the same reasons as the pipes inside your home. If the water flow appears restricted at any point on its journey, it’s a good indication that there is a frozen blockage somewhere that will need clearing, that’s where Premier Drainage come in.
If you’re expecting very cold weather, any pipes that are exposed to the elements, whether they are outside or found in your home, should be insulated properly with pipe lagging or foam snap on tubes. It is also a good idea to pour some hot water down your sinks in order to remove any build up of fats, oils and grease that has accumulated in the pipes.
Soda crystals to help keep your drains clear and clean
Soda Crystals are renowned for their ability to dissolve grease. To clear and clean your drains, gutters and waste pipes, pour half a bag, which is about 500g of soda crystals directly down the drain and leave for ten minutes before rinsing with very hot water to keep them clear of grease and blockages. Wash gutters with half a cup of soda crystals per litre of water and always remove any rotting leaves.
Make sure there is no water left dripping from taps
Dripping taps are the main cause of frozen and blocked pipes as the slow trickling of water means it’s far more likely to freeze in the drains or pipes. Not only can a dripping tap cause a lot of damage in the long run, you can also waste an vast amount of water too.
So that you do not face any issues or large bills with your water supply over the winter months, why not ask Premier Drainage to carry out a preventative drain clearance in the autumn as a precaution.
What happens when a drain freezes in the winter?
If you happen to live in a particularly cold area, or regularly have freezing winters, you might experience a frozen drain at some point. The water in your sink or bath will not drain properly, as the pipe and the water inside it have frozen, causing a blockage.
This blockage will cause more water to build up behind the blockage that too will freeze. When the whole pipe is full of water, the ice will expand and the pipe or drain will burst or crack. This can clearly cause serious problems with flooding and expensive repairs.
Need help? Call us today!
If you need a rapid response to your drain problem then call us today on 01438 222 758 or fill in our contact form to get a FREE QUOTE.
We provide drainage services throughout Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex and London.