Spring Plumbing Tips: Post-Winter Survival Checks

Winter is over, but did your plumbing survive? Take a look at our top spring plumbing tips to make sure the harsh winter didn’t adversely affect your home plumbing.

Freezing temperatures plummeting down past -10’C. Inches of snow across the country. Extreme weather patterns bringing the country to a standstill. The winter of 2018 was one of the harshest on record.

Thankfully, many British homes are fitted with reliable central heating systems to carry us through these dark, cold months. In this winter more than any in recent memory, they will have seen a considerable amount of use.

But now the bitter cold has passed, have you considered the potential impact the winter had on your home plumbing? Cold weather can do all sorts of damage to your property and plumbing is no exception

Your Spring Plumbing Checklist from Our Local Experts

Follow this list of checks, put together by our specialist plumbers in London, to ensure your property is free from damage caused by the rough winter.

Check #1: Boiler

During the winter, your boiler may be running 24/7.

This puts a huge amount of strain on the working parts of your central heating, leading to wear and tear. After all that use, it’s important to check that your boiler hasn’t developed any faults that could come back to bite you next winter.

Steps to take include checking external elements, such as pipes and valves, for signs of mildew, cracks or rusting due to moisture build-up. You’ll also want to make sure the pressure gauge is at appropriate levels. If your boiler isn’t between optimal pressure levels (1-1.5 bar), you’ll need to either adjust the appliance yourself or have a professional come in to repair the issue.

The biggest problem with boilers is that they are surrounded by a large plastic case. The complex parts, the parts that get worn down, are mostly located within. So how can you check these? You listen to your machine.

Test your boiler, listening for unusual sounds like rattling, hissing, banging, knocking and clicking. Do this in a variety of circumstances, including while actively heating the house, while the hot water is running, while idle after use and during both phases of turning on and shutting down.

Check #2: Pipes

The winter of 2018 saw rivers freeze. If flowing bodies of water can be turned to ice, so can the water sitting in your pipes. Those plumbing elements inside your home, and protected by insulated walls, will be fine, but those outside or in spaces like garages or attics are exposed to sub-zero temperatures.

Here, water can freeze.

Ice crystals can be damaging to pipes, worming their way into weaknesses and causing splits and cracks to form. The result could be obvious leaks or simple weathering that will eventually lead to even worse damage.

Check pipes that have been exposed to freezing temperatures to ensure they aren’t showing signs of winter damage.

Rusty burst pipe spraying water after freezing in winter. Spring plumbing tips to avoid this happening

Check #3: Fixtures

Cold weather causes pipes to contract, while hot water running through them then causes them to expand. In the winter, the two extremes place a lot of pressure on the pipework within your home.

Most modern houses are equipped with copper piping, which can handle this movement without much of a problem. However, the fixtures they are held together with tend to be less resilient.

Brackets, joints, joists and other connecting elements can become loose as pipes expand and contract. During the winter this will happen a lot, leading to problems such as leaks.

The simple solution is to check all exposed and accessible pipes for loose fixtures, tightening if necessary.

Check #4: Blockages

Your external and internal pipes are connected. If your outside pipes freeze, it could impact the inside of your home. A frozen pipe doesn’t have to mean damage to your system and it may go by unnoticed.

However, it can cause problems besides cracks and leaks.

When water freezes and unfreezes, it can cause materials like limescale and sludge to become dislodged and move around your system. Check for blockages by testing the water pressure of your taps, listening out for noisy pipes and checking radiators for cold spots.

Why Use Our Spring Plumbing Tips?

Most people won’t consider the damage winter can cause, but this is a mistake.

As the temperatures rise, fewer and fewer households will be using their central heating systems. The result is any damage that isn’t discovered now is likely to remain until you become more reliant on your systems again as temperatures drop towards the end of the year. By this time, the problem could have got worse, or simply gone by unnoticed.

This is not an ideal situation.

You don’t want to be discovering faults at a time when you need your heating to stay warm. Better to find them now, when you are less reliant on your central heating and have time to get them repaired. Now is the time to step back and examine your plumbing systems to ensure they survived the harsh winter unscathed.

Need help fixing problems found by following our spring plumbing tips? Concerned the winter might have adversely affected your home plumbing? Get in touch with our specialist plumbers today, for everything from boiler repairs in London to drainage services.