Tip of The Month: Two plumbing issues you can avoid when it gets cold

When the temperature hits freezing point, as it has done this past month, there are two jobs that we often get called to attend. Thing is, one can simply be avoided in the first place. The other can easily be solved by your own hands. Here are the problems, and their respective solutions.

Your boiler has stopped working
It powers up, the light goes on. But there’s no heat or hot water.
Ok, so before you start searching for local plumbers, you might be able to solve this one by yourself.

Most boilers have something called a condensate pipe.
It’s typically a white pipe, the width of your thumb, that’s used to drain all the excess water produced from the condensing process in your boiler. The resulting liquid then escapes down the drain. Simple.

But when the weather gets really cold, this process literally freezes.
The fix is easy. Get some hot water (not boiling) and slowly pour it over the condensate pipe. This will melt the ice that’s blocking it and, after a couple of minutes, you should be back up and running. If you’re not, the problem probably lays elsewhere and you’ll need to make that call.

Your garden tap could crack if it gets too cold
Your garden or outdoor tap, even if it hasn’t been used for some time, will invariably continue to hold some water, either in the pipe, or the tap itself. When the outdoor temperature becomes freezing cold, this water can then turn to ice, causing expansion within the tap, leading to cracking. That’s not good, and your only option is to replace it.

But don’t worry. There are two simple ways to stop this from occurring in the first place.
The first solution is to switch off the valve from the inside, effectively isolating it from the tap, and then making sure that there’s no more water left in it. Job done.

The second solution is simpler.
Gather some old rags, t-shirts, dust cloths or whatever. And wrap them around the tap in layers – this will effectively insulate it. Finally, cover the insulation with a plastic bag to protect it from the elements. That’s it.

Until next time, ciao for now.


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