Protecting unoccupied properties during cold weather

Protecting unoccupied properties during cold weather 

Each year, many properties suffer from burst pipes and flooding caused by freezing temperatures however, there are a number of precautions you can put in place to reduce the risk of damage to your property and its contents.

Burst pipe

Fluctuating weather conditions, often seen throughout winter, can cause freezing and subsequent thawing, putting water networks everywhere under extreme pressure. Water wholesalers and retailers across the country, work around the clock to resume the normal high standard of service customers expect, whilst combatting the added disruption of bursts and leaks.

Due to the recent freezing temperatures across the country, and the fact that many businesses have temporarily closed their doors due to Covid-19, the public water and wastewater organisation is advising to check, heat, insulate and protect properties.

There are four key actions you can take to minimise the risk to your properties, which have been summarised below by Scottish Water:

Check: Check any pipework for leaks, particularly if the building is not permanently inhabited. If you are not living or working in the property, make sure you or someone else can check regularly for any problems.

Heat: Warmth offers the best protection against frozen pipes, so when temperatures are low leave your heating on a low setting or set it to come on a couple of times a day.

Insulate: Pipes don’t like the cold – whether they are outdoors or indoors, metal or plastic, new or old. Making sure pipes and water tanks are properly insulated is one of the simplest, and cheapest, things which can be done to help protect properties from the cold. Make sure that there are no gaps at bends, valves or fittings, and that you use a suitable insulation material.

Frozen tap

Protect: Dripping water increases the risk of freezing, so have any drips or leaks at taps or valves repaired as soon as you discover them and reduce draughts by fitting draught excluders to doors and windows. 

Even when your property is winter ready sometimes damages can happen, so make sure you have adequate buildings and content insurance. If your property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system. A licensed plumber will be able to give advice about this.

If your property has been vacant over the winter months and has not been visited or insulated, it will be worthwhile checking the property over to ensure there are no leaks or bursts. Please ensure you follow Covid-19 regulations when visiting any properties to check for bursts or leaks.