Emergency plumbers charge around £100 to fix a frozen pipe, according to consumer watchdog Which?.
So just how should you deal with frozen pipes? Arguably the best way to deal with frozen pipes is also the cheapest: stop them from freezing in the first place.
There are a number of money-saving tricks you can perform to help you do this.
Ways to prevent your pipes from freezing
Market research group Consumer Reports recommends keeping your thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night.
Granted, you might not like the sound of that if it means paying extra for heating but it is ultimately far cheaper to avoid frozen pipes than it is to marginally increase your heating expenses.
One word of warning, turning up your thermostat by just one degree could add an extra £75 a year to bills.
Laura McGadie, head of consumer advice at the Energy Saving Trust, told The Sun: “The best way to try to prevent your outdoor pipes from freezing is to add some foam insulation.
“Prices for foam tubing insulation starts at under £1 for a metre, and you can easily cut these to size.
“It works by reducing the amount of heat lost, therefore keeping the water hotter for longer.
“Insulating your hot water pipes can save you £10 a year on energy bills – and prevent condensate pipes from freezing – ensuring your condensing boiler keeps working in extreme conditions.”
You’ll also save money you’d otherwise spend on heating up water. For example, The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a typical gas-heated home in the UK will save £80 in energy bills just by having its hot water tank fitted with a water jacket.
A water jacket typically costs in the region of £10.
What to do if your pipes have already frozen
If you’ve forgotten to any take precautions and your pipes have already ended up freezing, you can still deal with problem simply and cheaply.
The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering recommends turning off the mains water supply at the stop valve inside your home before you do anything else. If the frozen pipe is not controlled via a valve, you’ll need to check that it hasn’t split.
If the pipe isn’t split, you can apply hot water bottles to it to thaw it out. If any part of the hot water system is frozen, there could be a risk of explosion if the boiler (or other heat source) is kept alight, so ensure it is turned off.
For solid fuel systems, put out the fire. Again, of course, the cost of a few hot water bottles is far less than the potential cost of frozen pipes.
But if the worst comes to the worst and you do need to call out an emergency plumber, do not lose hope – there are a number of ways to find cheap and reliable plumbers near you.
The online directory checkatrade.com allows you to view a list of accredited plumbers in your area, with reviews and ratings.
All you have to do is select the type of tradesperson you need (a plumber) and enter your postcode.
Another similar service is ratedpeople.com, which send you up to three quotes on your mobile. Then, after the plumber has carried out their repairs, you can give them a rating to help other customers.
The UK Home Owners’ Alliance also offers a range of useful contacts and tips for selecting the right plumber – just go to their website.
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