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The Beast Is Back! PFG Helping Homes In The Cold Weather.

A good number of phone calls have come through to us already this week related to the cold weather out there. This unfortunately brings problems into our world of plumbing! However, most of these issues can be prevented pretty easily in most cases, and these issue which we categorise as 'People Problems' (a phrase we have come up with at PFG to highlight potential DIY plumbing problems that with guidance, the fix may be 'Performed by the Person' (another phrase we are now referring to between us lol!)

Read on, to help save money & time with these top tips most plumber's don't like to tell!

Did you know? (cause I didn't until a minute ago!)

A 20mm outer diameter MDPE (blue poly water main pipe) with a 15mm inner diameter, with the standing water laying in the pipe at 7’C will freeze in under 3 hours at an outside temperature of -6’C.

So below is some advise that may help prevent potential problems due to the cold.......

1. Pay As You Go Meters:

Always remember to check the money on your gas and electricity meters!

If you are struggling to keep your pre-meter topped up, some providers have schemes in place for hardship caused by Covid-19. Check the link below to find out more:

2. Tap on! Tap off!

Before bed turn on and off all the taps in your home, especially ones outside or near an outside wall. Mr. Frost struggles if the water moves and doesn’t sit still. All outside taps should have a valve indoors to allow it to be turned off in the winter when not being used. If you have one, close it inside and open the outside tap to allow the excess water what is left to trickle out. If installed correctly, the feed pipe should run down to your tap from inside so the pipe run can be effectively cleared of all sitting water. No fill, no freeze!

3. Tap on!

In more severe weather it may be a good idea to keep your outside tap running all night. By keeping a steady flow of water it should prevent the pipe from freezing. Ideally recycle the water into a bucket so not to waste.

4. Blue Poly Water Mains:

To those installing a blue poly mains pipe, always remember to dig your channel to a minimum of 650mm depth. This is a building regulation and is in place to keep the pipe insulated. If you notice any of this pipe on show, it may be an idea to pop to your local builders merchant to buy pipe lagging (foam slip on pipe insulation). They are sold by the 1M length, are cheap and take seconds to install!

5. Loft space

Lofts often have pipe work which will more likely be copper, not plastic- which is even more susceptible to a freeze. Lofts can get extremely cold, especially ones not insulated. For those living in mobile accommodation, quite often pipe work is exterior. The same applies.

6. Extended periods away from home

Makes sure you turn your mains water valve off. This will greatly reduce the risk of plumbing issues whilst you are away. Also, set your central heating to come on for a short burst throughout the day and night to prevent pipes freezing. While on the subject, have you considered a Smart Setup? These allow you to controls your heating and hot water from your phone - not only convenient but a great money saver; never heating an empty home again! At a cost of only £325.00 you can use a new type of tech available from our PFG online shop. For further support and professional advice on this please get in touch to organise a video call for step by step guidance on what can be achieved in your home.

Shop Google Nest Now at the best price out there!

Google Nest Room Thermostat Info:

7. Mains water stopcock

Make sure you know where the mains water stopcock is located in your home. This should be easily accessible, especially in case of an emergency and check it moves freely. Or look at the ease of this great alternative below. Get in touch if you require any more info:

8. Freezing pipes

If your pipes do freeze, turn the water off and thaw them out slowly with hot water bottles. Never use a heat gun or blow torch.

Our Tips For Looking After Your Condensing Boiler:

The cold snaps can cause issues for condensing boilers. If the condensate pipe freezes they will shut down leaving your home without heating. The outlet pipe for the condensate may have been fitted outside your home. If so, cold temperatures can freeze the pipe and cause a blockage. And this can shut your boiler down. A common sign will be a loud banging noise from the boiler. Usually, this is a sign that there is a fault code on the boiler, but the most obvious sign may be that you have no hot water or heating in your home! Same process applies as above; thaw them out slowly with hot water from a bottle or watering can. Never use a heat gun or blow torch!

How To Prevent Your Boiler Condensate Pipe From Freezing:

Leave your heating on overnight at a lower temperature by the room stat or time clock to keep the condensate pipe flowing. Although this uses gas, it’s cheaper than a repair. If you do change any heating settings, remember to return them to normal once the cold spell is over. These steps may not prevent freezing in really cold weather conditions but are important steps to avoid steps which could help to avoid an emergency.

Prepare Your Gutter System:

Help improve your home's surface water run off system, which is made up of gutters, down pipes and ground drains. Remove all debris to ensure all pipes and drains are clear allowing for rain water or melting snow to drain away efficiently. We offer gutter cleaning services too!

Keep warm & stay safe,

Ben & The PFG Team

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