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How to prepare and protect pipes and tanks for winter
With winter on its way, now is the time to start thinking about how you can prepare and protect pipes and tanks from the damage that can be caused by plummeting temperatures.
As water freezes, it expands. What this means for pipes or tanks is that when they are exposed to cold temperatures, the water inside begins to exert extra pressure on the structure carrying or holding it. This in turn puts the whole system at risk of rupturing, causing damage and suffering breakdowns during the winter months.
Which is a problem. The last thing that anybody wants to be dealing with in the depths of winter is cracks, bursts or reduced flow rates – especially as issues can cause serious damage to property in the process.
Thankfully, there are several measures that you can take in order to prepare pipes for winter. Here are some of the steps that we’d recommend which can help to ensure that you and your property are ready for when freezing temperatures arrive.
Drain outdoor pipes ahead of winter
One of the easiest ways to prevent exterior pipes or tanks from breaking down during winter is to drain those that won’t be in use ahead of freezing temperatures arriving. If appliances such as hose pipes can be moved indoors, then you should bring them in during the winter months.
If you have exterior taps, then close the indoor valves but leave the outdoor valves open. This allows the water to expand safely when it freezes due to the lack of pressurisation.
One step that you should not take is to pass antifreeze through these pipes. The chemical can damage the pipework as well as having a significant detrimental impact on the environment.
Insulate your pipes to prevent freezing
Insulation of exterior pipes is one of the most effective ways in which you can protect and prepare pipes for winter. On the face of it, this may seem like a costly and time-consuming exercise, but it can actually be relatively easy and cheap to carry out.
Most DIY stores will sell pipe lagging which can be used for insulation. The lagging is fitted around pipes to prevent them from becoming damaged or bursting. The lagging works by keeping heat inside the pipes, which can also help to reduce energy bills.
Repair leaks to protect and prepare pipes for winter
If your property is already suffering from leaking pipes, then it’s imperative that you repair them before winter in order to prevent the problem becoming any worse. A leak now can easily turn into a burst pipe in the depths of December or January.
Repairing leaking pipes has never been easier. A SylWrap Pipe Repair Kit contains all the equipment needed to permanently seal leaking pipes. The kits are extremely easy to use, offering a permanent fix inside of 30 minutes. They are WRAS approved, meaning that they are safe to use with drinking water.
Strengthen pipes that are damaged and corroded
As well as fixing pipes that are already leaking, you should take measures to strengthen pipes that are damaged and therefore more susceptible to breaks. If your property contains pipes or tanks which are corroded or showing signs of wear and tear, then using Pipe Repair Wraps or Bandages will give them added protection during the winter months.
SylWrap CR Corrosion & Protection Wrap contains corrosion inhibitors to repair, protect and refurbish structures and pipework that have suffered from corrosion damage. SylWrap CR is easy to use, simply dip in water and wrap around the corroded or damaged area.
The Wrap sets rock-hard in 30 minutes for an impact-resistant protective layer. By wrapping pipes with SylWrap CR, you can return them to full working order which will help to prevent cracks or bursts developing in winter.
For exterior tanks or inaccessible pipework with corroded or damaged areas that requires patch repairs, then a Fibreglass Repair Kit can also be used to protect tanks ahead of winter.
Take steps to prevent draughts and cold air flows
Interior pipes in locations such as garages and warehouses may freeze if those areas of a property aren’t draught-proofed or are subjected to cold air flows. Small gaps between doors or in structures allows the cold to get in, which in turn will cool down and potentially freeze pipes. This is because the colder air speeds up the process of ice formation.
You can prevent this from happening by draught proofing areas that, because they are not habitable or well-used, may have otherwise been neglected. Plug up gaps using insulation, wood or plastic to try and keep the cold away from interior pipes or tanks.