Don’t come home to a burst pipe!

104451093If you’re off visiting friends or family over the festive period – or lucky enough to be heading abroad for some winter sun or to the slopes for a skiing holiday – you’ll want to minimise the risk of coming back to water damage after a cold snap.

With energy prices at record levels you may be tempted to save money and switch off the heating while the house is empty, but that could be counterproductive warns Bob Towse from free consumer advice line Heating Helpline. Here’s their advice on how to compromise on bills and safeguard against a burst pipe…

– Don’t be tempted to turn off your heating altogether – cold weather can wreak havoc on water pipes so it’s best to keep your heating on low – around 10ºC/50ºF.

– Make sure all water pipes in the loft are insulated with preformed insulation.

– Replace washers on dripping taps because if the taps freeze the pipe will become blocked.

– If you’re leaving house keys with a friend or neighbour make sure they know where your inside stop valve is and check that it is working. They will need to get to it quickly if a pipe has burst.

– Leave the loft door open to let the heat from downstairs circulate.

– Insulate outside taps or turn them off at the stop tap or drain them before you go away.

– Fix any dripping taps or overflows. A build-up of ice can cause a blockage.

– If you haven’t already got one, consider having a programmable thermostat fitted; these give you complete control over your heating and usually have a holiday setting. Better still is one of the latest generation of ‘smart’ heating controls that mean you can programme your heating via the internet from anywhere and anytime – this means you can also turn up your heating the day before you head home so you don’t return to a cold house.

The Heating Helpline is operated by B&ES, the Building & Engineering Services Association, and provides consumers with free, impartial advice on every aspect of home heating. For more information contact the Heating Helpline on 0800 810 8303 or visit their website:

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