Guide Day-to-day repairs

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10. Dealing with burst or frozen pipes

For burst or frozen pipes follow the advice below and call us immediately for help and advice. 

Check your stopcock:

Before any emergency arises it is a good idea to make sure that you know where your stopcock is located and that you are able to operate it properly.  Check this by turning off the stopcock and checking that the water to the kitchen cold water tap stops flowing.  If your stopcock is inaccessible or not working please contact us and we will replace it or fit a remote switch 'sure stop'. 

If your pipes freeze:

Turn off the water at the stopcock. Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end nearest the tap. You could try and pour hot water near the condensing pipe of your boiler.

Switch off your boiler and immersion heater (if you have one). Turn on all your taps to drain the water. 

Remember: don't leave taps dripping or running as the water may not drain down the plughole if the pipe below is frozen.

If you have a burst pipe:

Turn off the water at the stopcock. If water is coming into contact with any electrical wiring or switches then switch off the electricity at the mains. Switch off your central heating or immersion heaters.

Open all taps to reduce flooding, but turn them off once pipework is repaired to avoid further flooding. Soak up/block off escaping water with thick towels.

Call EDDC for a plumber. If you live in a block of flats, warn your neighbours below that water may leak into their home.

Avoiding burst or frozen pipes 

If you have central heating with a thermostat set it to at least 10 degrees Celsius. If you go away for a few days leave the heating on for a short time every day and get a friend or neighbour to check the property regularly

Insulate water tanks and lag pipes (lagging material is available from most DIY stores). Make sure there are no gaps at bends, valves or fittings. Pay special attention to water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like loft spaces and garages.

Check insulation in any property likely to be unoccupied for long periods, and when left empty for a prolonged period, turn off the water at the stop cock and consider draining down the system so there is no water left in the pipes.

Fix dripping taps - even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe. Minimise draughts from outside and close doors and windows to unheated parts of the property.

Check your boiler has been serviced.

If you have a 'sure stop' switch fitted we expect you to turn this off if you leave your home for a few days.