Why Frozen Pipes are Bad

With winter upon us, our home plumbing is coming under increased strain from the elements. When it comes to keeping your pipes safe, preparation is key. Any piping that runs along the outside of the building is at risk, even pipes in unheated attics and cellars.

Although it seems as though it wouldn’t be the end of the world, frozen pipes can be the cause of damage costing thousands of pounds. Here’s what you need to know:

Expanding Water

As water goes from a liquid to a solid it gets less dense (that’s why the ice floats to the top of your drink). This drop in density causes the water to expand, meaning the colder water takes up more space than warmer water. This puts colossal amounts of pressure on the outsides of the pipe and can result in catastrophe.

Burst Pipes

While it’s not guaranteed that a frozen pipe can cause a leak, the potential damage is vast, especially with older plumbing. It could be a small trickle from one of the joints, or it could be a crack right down the length of the pipe. Any small weaknesses in the plumbing are automatically at risk of being exacerbated by the increased water pressure.


As well as costly damage to pipes, large leaks that result from frozen pipes are not uncommon. If a pipe in an attic bursts, the resulting leak can cause damage to the entire home and its contents. Although this may be covered by your home insurance, the result of a home flood is hugely inconvenient.

Replacing and repairing furnishings is time-consuming and expensive, and some items of sentimental value can simply never be replaced. The problems as a result of a flood can continue long after repair, too; if your home is not properly dried, then resultant problems such as mould or mildew could prevail for a number of months afterwards.

Is your plumbing prepared for the winter freeze? Are you worried that your pipes might be frozen? Our friendly and experienced team at Wear Heating and Gas can help you keep your home safe. Contact us today for our expert advice.