Preventing frozen and burst pipes

If recent years are anything to go by, we can expect plenty more icy winters. And that could spell trouble for our pipes – and ultimately, our church buildings. 

Frozen pipes can be a big problem. Not only can they stop heating and hot water from working properly, but they can also burst – causing leaks, or even flooding. Water expands as it freezes, pressurising the pipe from the inside out, causing it to buckle. So, if you think any pipes have frozen over, you will need to act quickly to prevent any further damage.  

We recommend that you conduct regular inspections and recommend that you look at the following:  

  • Have boilers serviced annually – if your heating isn’t working efficiently, the cold spots in your system will be most vulnerable to the cold. So, it is a good idea to have your boiler serviced every year – preferably during the warmer months 
  • Insulating pipes and water tanks – this is one of the best ways to prevent them from freezing. Making sure that any exposed pipes in walls or roof spaces are properly insulated will also reduce the risk of frost damage 
  • Fix leaking taps – leaky taps can cause your drains to freeze and water to back up to the sink, leading to an overflow. So make sure they are always fully off and have them fixed if they drip 
  • Know where your stopcock is – it is essential that you know how to stop the water flow case pipes freeze. Clear the area around it for easy access, and use it immediately if you spot a leaky pipe 
  • Visually check the pipes for central heating systems – check they are not corroding or leaking, and check that basins and WCs are also not overflowing or leaking. This will cut down the risk of water damage internally.   

Need more information? 

Detail on all of the above points and recommendations on how to look after your church building can be found in our briefing paper.  This also includes checklists on items to review monthly and annually.  To find the briefing paper click here.