Arctic blast to cause misery for households

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The UK is set to be hit by freezing temperatures and snow as an artic blast sweeps across the nation.

With temperatures in excess of -10 forecast for parts of Scotland and 5-10cm of snow likely for the rest of the UK, the cold snap signals plumbing misery for many, with frozen and burst pipes heading up the league of household disasters.

Paul Harmer, Technical Director of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) offers the following advice:

· In very cold weather take special care to prevent water pipes becoming frozen. If you have a storage cistern in the roof space it will be sensible to open the hatch to allow some heat from the house to help keep the cistern from freezing.

· Make sure you know the location of, and have labelled, the stop-valve on the incoming water supply main (otherwise known as a stop-cock). It could save thousands of pounds of damage in the case of a burst pipe.

· Ensure that all exposed pipes and storage systems are properly insulated, particularly in the roof space or attic.

· If you are going away on a winter’s holiday, leave the thermostat set low (at least 5oC) to help prevent pipes from freezing. And do check your insurance policy to see if you have to comply with any directives.

Paul Harmer added: “It is important for householders to choose plumbers and heating engineers who will carry out work, professionally, competently and responsibly. Rogue installers may promise to do the job cheaper, but in thelong run it could prove to be very expensive if the work is non compliant and remedial work is necessary.”

For a list of professionals in your area, please visit www.ciphe.org.uk or ring 01708 472791, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.