October 09, 2012 03:00 ET

How to Prepare Your Pipes for the Winter

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 9, 2012) - With the last bit of good weather now behind us, it's time to say goodbye to the summer and start preparing our homes for the colder weather. Drainage experts Dyno have released a handy step-by-step guide to winter-proof plumbing, helping you to avoid expensive emergency plumbing repairs when the temperatures plummet.

Internal Water Pipes

Freezing temperatures can cause water pooled in pipes around the house to expand and solidify in a matter of hours. When leaving the house vacant for even a short time (weekend vacation) you can avoid cracked pipes by draining them before the temperatures drop to below 0 °C.

Firstly, you'll need to find the stopcock valve that controls the water entering your home and switch it off by turning it clockwise. The stopcock is normally located close to the boiler, under the sink in the kitchen or in the garage. Just remember to check with the neighbours before turning off the water!

Next, turn on all the hot and cold taps in the house and allow them to drain in the sink. This includes any taps in the garden. Flush all the toilets repeatedly to drain all the water in the cistern.

If you need to drain down the central heating system you will need to place a bowl under the hot water heater and open the drain to allow the water to run. You may need to empty the bowl a few times during this process, or alternatively you can attach a garden hose to the tank and let the water drain outside into the drain which is connected to your toilet or kitchen sink.

On your return you will need to open the main stopcock and allow the systems to fill if water. Only close the taps once there is a steady flow of water coming out of them. This will prevent any air locks. Make sure you wait until your boiler is completely refilled before you switch the pilot light and central heating back on.


Good quality insulation is one of the most effective ways to protect your plumbing against the freezing weather. Fit your water tank with an insulation jacket or wrap the top and sides with insulation material - the bottom of the tank should be kept clear to allow the heat from the rooms below to reach the tank. Pipes outside the home should also be insulated, along with toilet cisterns in cold areas. Whilst installing insulation, take the time to check for leaks and cracks in ceramic wear as you go. If you do find any damage, contact Dyno plumbing services for immediate help from a licensed expert.

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