By Kerry Hale

How To Prevent Frozen And Burst Pipes

  • Monday 20 February 2023
  • 4 minute read

Frozen pipes are a common issue when the temperature drops below freezing during the winter.


Not only is it inconvenient to have no running water but frozen or burst pipes can affect your shower and, in some cases, may be hazardous. Our guide to preventing frozen and burst pipes includes everything you need to know, from simple precautions you can take to DIY fixes to try before calling a plumber. 

What temperature do pipes freeze at?

Pipes may start to freeze when the temperature drops to 0˚C or lower. However, this depends on where the pipes are located and whether they are insulated. Outdoor pipes that aren’t protected from the elements are more likely to freeze first. Still, uninsulated indoor pipes exposed to draughts or in lofts and external walls are also susceptible to freezing.

Why do frozen pipes burst?

Pipes can burst as the water freezes and expands, causing pressure build-up. Frozen pipes won’t always burst, but treating them as soon as possible is important to avoid significant damage to your home, like flooding.

What happens when your pipes freeze?

The first sign of frozen pipes is no running water. However, there are many other clues to look out for besides visible cracks or damage. For example, if water isn’t draining from your shower, bath or sink, this could be a sign that the waste water pipe is frozen. Low water pressure may indicate that your pipes are starting to freeze, so follow our preventative measures before the problem worsens.

How to prevent your pipes from freezing

Insulate your pipes

Pipe insulation is one of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of freezing, and it’s a relatively affordable solution. You can buy foam pipe insulation for hot and cold water pipes, which is easy to install on exposed pipes indoors and outdoors. However, installing insulation may be tricky if your pipes are hidden behind a wall or in an awkward position, so you’ll need to consult the professionals.

Service your boiler

Ensure your boiler is working efficiently to reduce the risk of frozen pipes. If your central heating system isn’t working correctly, there may be cold spots in the pipework which are more vulnerable to freezing.

Turn off the water if you’re going away

If you’re going away for more than a few days, shutting off the water supply and draining any water from the system by running the taps can help prevent frozen pipes.

Circulate heat

Keeping your home warm is another way to prevent frozen pipes. Circulate heat around the house by leaving internal doors open, including any cupboards where pipes are located.

How to thaw frozen pipes

Run your taps

As well as helping you diagnose frozen pipes, running your taps can help a frozen pipe to drain as it thaws.

Turn off the water supply

Should you suspect a burst pipe, turn off the water supply at the main immediately to prevent flooding. Then, turn on the taps to drain any excess water from the pipes, preventing further freezing. Call a plumber to fix the problem as soon as possible.

Apply heat

If you can identify and access the frozen pipe, apply heat to the area to thaw it. Use a hot water bottle or carefully pour hot (not boiling) water over the pipes to melt any ice. 

For a reliable shower even in the coldest weather, shop Mira electric showers. Our electric showers heat cold water on demand, so you won’t have to wait for your boiler to kick in before enjoying a hot shower.

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