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Winter. It’s not everyone’s favourite season particularly if you experience burst pipes, so how you avoid this disaster?

It’s important to love your pipes.

After experiencing one of the coldest starts to the weekend in nearly 10 years, it’s official. Winter is here, Sydneysiders. Cue snuggly blankets, hearty soup, and binge-watching Netflix. But while it certainly felt like it was freezing here in the inner west, in other parts of New South Wales it literally was.

Goulburn shivered through a low of -10.4 degrees on Sunday, causing a host of water-related problems for residents.

While some complaints were more amusing than problematic (frozen toothpaste, anyone?), most related to burst pipes unable to cope with the extreme temperature drop.

Unsurprisingly, burst pipes can cause a whole lot of damage. To help prevent a plumbing emergency in your home this winter, here are our top three tips to protect your pipes:

  1. Wrap ‘em up – Just as we’d wear a warm coat when heading outside in winter, your pipes also need the same kind of love. While Australia’s warm climate means we don’t often experience below freezing conditions, it also means our pipes are not always insulated. Prevention is better than cure – insulate the pipes themselves, or the space around them.  Not only will this help prevent cold water freezing in winter, it can also save energy by reducing the time hot water takes to heat up.
  2. Slow flow – When the mercury drops, turn on taps connected to exposed pipes. Keeping water moving at a slow flow helps relieve pressure and prevent freezing. Of course, we recommend only doing this when at home – if you’re away for any length of time, turn taps off at the mains.
  3. Keep your ‘cool’ – Avoid the temptation to dial up the thermostat during the day and turn it off when you go to bed. Keeping an even warm temperature at all times helps prevent water in your pipes from expanding and, you guessed it, freezing over and potentially exploding.

It may seem unlikely that frozen or burst pipes could be a problem in your home this winter, but if the worst does happen, call in a professional plumber to get things back in working order and to provide advice on avoiding a future reoccurrence. 

PS A bonus tip from Fire and Rescue NSW on coping with the freezing weather – do not try this at home, folks!