What should you do if your water pipes have frozen?

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Frozen water pipes can burst and cause major problems if they aren't dealt with straight away.

The first sign of a frozen blockage will be if you turn on the tap and no water - or just a trickle - comes out.

First off, you need to shut off the water to your entire home at the main stop tap, while leaving the tap open.

If you can, follow the pipe back from the tap to where it runs through cold areas, looking out for parts of the pipe which are bulging or have frost or ice on the outside.

An exposed frozen pipe can be thawed easily enough, but remember to start at the tap and work back towards the frozen area so trapped water can flow out.

You can use a hair dryer on a low setting to deal with the freeze, or try taking a portable heater to the problem area.

Holding a hot towel to the frozen area may also help, or you can pick up some specialist electrical heating tape to deal with the blockage.

However, you should never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame, since it could damage the pipe or start a fire in your home.

Pipes which are underground, in outside walls or in unheated rooms are particularly prone to freezing over.

For enclosed pipes, you will need to turn up the heating in your home and wait for the blockage to melt.

If you're having trouble with frozen pipes, or in the event of a pipe bursting, call us immediately for assistance.

If the problem pipe is underground and not on your property, call your local water supplier.
During particularly frosty spells, open cupboard doors to expose pipes to the warmer air in your house, and report any leaks immediately.

Keeping your house as warm as you can and insulating the rest of your home will reduce the risk of frozen pipes.

You should detach any hoses connected to outdoor taps and consider turning off the water to the outdoors.

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