If your pipes freeze, you can end up with no running water, a broken-down boiler or even burst pipes. Follow these easy steps to prevent any problems before they happen.
How to prevent frozen pipes indoors
Know how to turn off your water supply
When a cold snap hits, or if you're going to be away from home during cold weather, it might be a good idea to turn off your home's water supply.
All you need to do is find your stopcock and turn it off. Your stopcock is usually under your kitchen sink but if you can’t find it, contact Irish Water, they’ll be able to help.
Insulate your pipes
Wrap up pipes, water tanks and cisterns with insulation. Especially in unheated areas like attics, outbuildings and under floor spaces. Use a good quality foam lagging which you’ll be able to find in any good hardware shop.
Keep your home warm
When it’s very cold out, keeping your home above five degrees Celsius on your thermostat can help prevent pipes freezing.
Or if you’ve a Hive, you can set the frost protection temperature on your app or thermostat and activate your heating remotely.
Check your taps
Even a small trickle of water can freeze and block your pipes. If you’re going away, consider leaving your heating on low, or turn the water supply off at the stopcock and drain the system. If you need to fix that leaky tap, you can find a local plumber here https://www.localheroes.ie/plumber
If your pipes or tanks have already frozen
Follow these steps to avoid pipes or tanks bursting when they’ve frozen:
Turn off the water at the mains stopcock
- Remove any furniture or equipment from the area before you start to thaw the system out
- Gently warm frozen pipes with a hairdryer or hot water bottle
If a pipe or tank does burst, turn off the water at the main stopcock immediately and switch off your central and other water heating. Turn on all your taps to let the water in the system drain out and then contact a professional plumber to make any necessary repairs.
We offer a wide range of installation and repair services to keep your home safe and warm all year round. Whether it’s a big or a small job, you’ll find all the information you need on our services hub.
Find out more
How to prevent frozen pipes outdoors
Take care of your boiler
Make sure to get your boiler serviced annually to ensure your boiler is running safely & efficiently.
Most modern gas boilers use condensing technology to make them more efficient. The boiler condensate pipe allows water to be drained from your heating system and disposed of with your household waste water.
If your condensate pipe has been fitted externally, it’ll be the only white plastic pipe on the wall outside from where your boiler is, and it’ll be vulnerable to freezing during very cold weather.
How to prevent a frozen boiler condensate pipe
- Insulating your condensate pipe can be done easily and cheaply, using waterproof lagging from any good hardware shop.
- Alternatively, talk to a registered gas installer about moving the condensate pipe inside to avoid it freezing in future.
If your boiler condensate pipe is frozen
The first sign that your boiler condensate pipe is frozen is usually that you don't have heating or hot water. You may also hear a gurgling sound coming from your boiler. If you think it’s frozen, try these steps:
- Pour warm, not boiling water over the parts of pipe that are frozen.
- If that doesn't work, you can try using a hot water bottle to thaw them.
Be careful not to slip, as ice can form around the condensate pipe in cold weather.
Of course, sometimes the problem requires a professional! We’ve been keeping boilers running smoothly and homes cosy for over 35 years, and we now offer much more than just boiler service and repair services. Visit our services hub to find out more.
If you are going away, consider leaving your heating on low, or turn the water supply off at the stopcock and drain the system. Make sure you know where your stopcock is.