CIPHE issues Christmas advice

With temperatures dropping and forecasters predicting snow and ice for the weeks ahead, it's important for people to be planning ahead to make sure their festive celebrations aren't disrupted by the nightmare of a burst pipe.

It's never fun having to deal with the aftermath of a major plumbing leak - much less so at this time of year. That's why the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has issued a few pieces of key advice you should bear in mind should the mercury drop below zero during the holidays.

The organisation stated householders with pipes in their attic or roof space need to make sure they are fully insulated. The best solution is to use foam insulation that wraps snugly around the pipe, it suggests.

It's also important for people to know where their stop-valves (sometimes called stop-cocks) are located, so they can quickly turn off their water if they discover a problem. 

It is often the case that individuals will not become aware they even have a frozen pipe until they start to thaw, but if they can act quickly at this point to switch off their water supply, they can prevent a lot of water damage to carpets, furniture and other property.

Technical and education manager at the CIPHE Bryan Clark explained that the stop-valve prevents more water from entering your home and is usually located under the kitchen sink - but it can be elsewhere, depending on where the water service point enters a property.

"Sometimes you will have an additional stop-valve in your loft or airing cupboard. If you can't find the internal valve don't worry, you can still turn off the water at the external valve, which may be under a cover in your garden or path," he said.

Mr Clark added: "A good tip is to find these stop-valves and label them before any plumbing emergencies occur. Try to gently turn them off and back on again. If it won't budge, don't force it - you'll need to get a plumber to replace it."

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