How to Prevent Blocked Drains and Frozen Pipes this Winter
The cold temperatures of winter pose many potential problems to your drains and pipes, both inside and outside your home.
Blocked drains are frequently caused by grease and fat that has solidified and caused a blockage in sub-zero temperatures. Equally, outdoor drains can often get clogged by leaves, twigs, and similar debris when trees shed during the winter season.
Meanwhile, with water constantly flowing through pipes, there is a risk that the water running through them will freeze in cold temperatures. Initially, a small amount of frozen water will simply cause a partial blockage; however, as more water reaches the icy area, the blockage could grow until the entire pipe is frozen. If water subsequently cannot flow through your pipes, wastewater could back up into your drain. Moreover, since water expands when it freezes, it is possible that the frozen water in your pipe will crack or even burst your pipes.
We have compiled a list of the necessary precautions you should be taking in order to protect your drains and pipes this winter:
Look After Your Kitchen Sink
Watching what you put down the sink is especially important during the winter season. Pouring hot water down your sink can be a helpful way to combat the build-up of frozen, solidified grease; however, you could avoid having to constantly do this by minimising the amount of oil and fats that goes down your drain in the first place.
Many people wash their pans with water straight after cooking, thinking that fats and oils will break down in the process. Due to their different chemical properties, however, grease will never dissolve in water. Instead, allow any fat and oil residue to dry and set, and then scrape it off into the bin. Alternatively, pour fat and oil into a non-recyclable container and throw them away.
Keep Your Outside Drains Clear
Regularly clearing your outside drains of grass, leaves, and twigs is a tedious but necessary job during the winter. Otherwise, this debris can make its way into your drain and cause a blockage that will require far more attention.
If you are willing to spend money on a solution, installing an outdoor drain cover is a more effective way to combat this problem. The device provides a slotted barrier wall that denies any such debris from gaining access to your drainage system.
Drain Your Pipes
If you are going to be leaving your property for an extended period of time this winter, you should also consider draining your pipes. Any time that you leave your property and decide not to keep the heating on in your home (set to 10°C at the very least), you run the risk of frozen pipes.
The logic for draining your pipes is very simple: if there is no water in your pipes, there is no chance that they could be damaged by the expansion caused by frozen water.
Add Extra Pipe Insulation
Insulating your pipework could help combat the problems caused by the frost of winter. There is a range of different materials that you could use to do so, ranging from circular foam tubing to fibreglass.
On average, pipe insulation will keep the temperature of the water in your pipes around 2 degrees higher than if it was not insulated. Reducing heat loss from your pipes not only will reduce the chance of them freezing but could also reduce the cost of your utility bill as less energy is required to heat the water.
When it comes to looking after your plumbing this winter, taking such preventative measures is key. However, if you do need a professional touch to unblock your outside drains, toilets, or sinks, do not hesitate to contact us.