Responding quickly to disruption in your home really does save you time and money. Here are Ready Scotland’s top tips on how to prepare for and react to home emergencies.
Insulating Water Pipes
Making sure pipes and water tanks are properly insulated is one of the simplest and cheapest things you can do to protect your property from the cold. To find out more, watch Scottish Water's short film about insulation.
If a pipe does freeze, turn off the stop valve immediately. The location of the stop valve will vary, but are most commonly found under a sink (kitchen or utility room), in a garage or close to the hot water system (wherever the mains supply enters your house). Then follow this advice from Scottish Water.
If a pipe bursts, close the stop valve as above, then open all cold taps to drain the system. Call a licensed plumber if you are in any doubt about what to do. You can also make a temporary repair using putty or a repair clamp, which can be bought from most DIY outlets. However, any temporary repair needs to be replaced as soon as possible by a permanent repair, carried out by a licensed plumber. Scottish Water provides great advice on this.
Boiler Stops in Cold
If your boiler stops working in cold weather, check if the condensate pipe - the external pipe that takes condensation from your boiler to your drain outside - has frozen. If you think this has happened, this SGN video tells you how to safely thaw the pipe.
On smelling gas, call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999 or via textphone (minicom) on 0800 371 787. Then follow these rules:
- Do not smoke or light matches;
- Do not turn electrical switches on or off;
- Do open doors and windows;
- Do turn off the meter at the control handle, unless the meter is in the cellar.
If you have to turn off your gas for another reason e.g. a flood is imminent, turn off the gas emergency control valve, usually found near to the meter.
You can turn off the electricity to your home by tripping the main switch in your fuse box. You may need to do this if a flood is imminent.