Prepare your home

We’re not the only ones who need to layer up with thermals and woolly hats in cold weather. Your pipes shiver too, so wrapping them up snug will help prevent them from freezing or bursting open.

Top ten tips

1 - Lag your pipes

Cover your water pipes – including those outside your home, in the loft and unheated rooms, with a foam tube, called lagging.

It’s easy to fit with no tools needed, available from most DIY stores and relatively cheap. Doing this now could save you huge costs and upset in years to come by helping to prevent your pipes bursting and flooding your home.

If you cover your hot water pipes while you’re at it, you’ll keep your water warmer for longer reducing your energy bill.

2 - Find your stop tap

Make sure you know where your stop tap is (most are under the kitchen sink), as you may need to turn your water off quickly in an emergency. Remember ‘right for tight, left for loose’.

3 - Keep your home warm

Keep your home snug at all times. This is as easy as closing your curtains before it gets dark to stop warmth escaping and putting draught excluders on doors.

Our best tip is to cover a thin sheet of card with tinfoil and slide it behind your radiator. This will reflect heat back into your room, meaning it warms up faster and retains more heat – making your home more efficient.

4 - Check loft insulation

Check your loft insulation is thick and in good condition. This helps to keep your home warmer and could help reduce your energy bill. It’s recommended that blanket style insulation (glass or mineral wool) should be 250 to 270 mm thick in your loft. You can also leave your loft hatch open when it’s cold to let the warm air circulate around your home.

5 - Bleed your radiators

If your radiators aren’t heating to the top, it’s likely they have air in them. To fix this, buy a radiator key from a DIY shop (about £1) and open the little valve at the top. Listen out for the air hissing and as soon as you see a drip of water, close it up again.

6 - Re-washer dripping taps

If your taps are dripping, you should change your washer as drips can freeze. Fixing a leaky tap can also save up to one litre of water a day.

7 - Drains and gutters

Keep your drains and gutters clear from things like leaves. This will help to prevent blockages. This can also stop leaks and damage to your walls and roof.

8 - Service your boiler

Make sure you get your boiler serviced regularly (about once a year). If your boiler breaks down it can be really expensive and disruptive.

9 - Always be prepared

Make sure you have the name and number of a qualified plumber to hand so if your pipes do freeze or burst you can call them straight away.

Also check your home insurance covers things like your pipes and damage caused by burst pipes. If it doesn’t, take out cover like HomeServe.

10 - Going on holiday

Always keep your heating on low, even when you’re out of the house or holiday. It will help keep your home warm and prevent pipes from freezing.

If you’re going away, consider turning off your stop tap and draining down the system – so there is no water in the system to freeze.