If you plan to be away from home at any time this winter that might coincide with a severe cold snap. And with energy prices at their record levels it will be tempting to save money and switch off the heating while the house is empty. But that might risk arriving back to find a flooded house or flat. Why not follow our advice – a sensible compromise between keeping bills down and avoiding a burst pipe.
- Don’t be tempted to turn off your heating altogether – cold weather can wreak havoc on water pipes so it’s best to keep your heating on low – around 10º C / 50º F.
- If you haven’t already got one, consider having a programmable thermostat fitted; these give you complete control over your heating and usually have a holiday setting. Better still is one of the latest generation of ‘smart’ heating controls that mean you can programme your heating via the internet from anywhere and anytime – this means you can also turn up your heating the day before you head home so you don’t return to a cold house.
- Make sure all water pipes in the loft are insulated with preformed insulation.
- Replace washers on dripping taps because if the taps freeze the pipe will become blocked.
- If you’re leaving house keys with a friend or neighbour make sure they know where your inside stop valve is and check that it is working. They will need to get to it quickly if a pipe has burst.
- Leave the loft door open to let the heat from downstairs circulate.
- Insulate outside taps or turn them off at the stop tap or drain them before you go away.
- Fix any dripping taps or overflows. A build-up of ice can cause a blockage.