At this time of year we all have to be careful to avoid the risk of burst pipes, so how should we avoid burst pipes? All exposed or vulnerable pipes in lofts, basements or pipe work on outside walls (especially cold mains pipes) should be as insulated as possible.

This is especially important for London homes where most pipes are given very little protection due to mostly fair weather all year round. Any insulation such as foam or rubber helps, as long as the pipe is covered.

When vacating your home on a holiday during a cold snap it is advisable to have your heating come on for a short period in the morning  say 6am and evening 10pm. Just ensure your clock for central heating is set correctly and room thermostat is set at around 15 degrees. Another action you can take is isolating the mains stop cock, normally located under the kitchen sink or under the stairs or in the basement. Once you have located your mains stop valve ensure it is shut, then open the kitchen mains tap to drain the water from the incoming mains pipe (this is most likely to freeze). Now that the incoming mains pipe is free of water it is less likely to freeze, expand and burst the pipe work. When you turn the mains stop cock back on make sure it is not turned fully open but rather closed “half a turn back”, once turned fully opened to help prevent the stop cock seizing or leaking.