"Is insulation enough to stop split pipes and water leaks?" Asks Cambridge Lettings Agent

Britain endured another exceptionally cold night with temperatures plummeting close to -18C in some areas during the 11th February 2012. Experts said the mercury had fallen to -17.8C in Buckinghamshire, in southern England, during the early hours of Saturday morning and was expected to plunge even lower as the icy weather continues to grip the UK. We recorded -12.4C at home near Oundle East Northamptonshire. Is it any surprise that water pipes are freezing up and splitting with temperature normally experienced on a skiing holiday?

Terry Lucking of Belvoir the leading letting agents in Cambridge looks at some of the issues and what can be done to prevent water leaks.  Belvoir Cambridge recorded 5 reports of water leaks between 6am on Saturday 11th and 12noon on Sunday 12th February.

The range of faults reported by our tenants included:

  • Split to a mains cold pipe in the loft of a block of flats. This pipe was installed by a major builder during the build of the block to provide water to the electrically heated shower in a top floor apartment. The pipe was properly insulated. The leak has caused damage to 3 apartments (our clients apartment and those beneath it).
  • Cold water mains feed pipes splitting between entry into the house and the water isolation tap under the sink.
  • Ceilings down, flooring damaged and kitchen cabinets blown in our clients apartment owing to serious leak from an unoccupied apartment above.
  • Pipes splitting to professionally fitted external garden taps using insulated extension pipes from kitchens and ground floor wc’s. All have leaked internally causing damage to the flooring and skirtings.  

What can be done?

Water leaks and split pipes are not just affecting unoccupied properties. All 17 reports we have received so far are from occupied properties. If we are going to continue to experience winters like December 2011 and February 2012 we need to more than just insulate pipes as clearly insulation alone isn’t enough.

Install Frost Protection Heat Tape. Heat tape will help prevents water from freezing in metal and plastic pipes. A built-in thermostat means that no manual control is required. The Frost Protection Heat Tape is designed for use for the protection of hot and cold water pipes that may be subject to freezing conditions. It can be used in flats, houses and mobile homes. The simple self contained nature of the tape lends itself to use for the protection of single pipes such as in domestic lofts or gardens, for use with condensing boilers and widely used on mobile homes. It is also ideal where many identical pipes require to be protected ie. in blocks of flats. 

For more information landlords should contact one of the areas leading lettings experts Belvoir Lettings Agency Cambridge.

Terry Lucking offers free advice and free property visits to all investors who are considering buying. 

For more information or to ask Terry a question send an email to terry.lucking@belvoirlettings.com