During the chilly winter months, drainage systems, both inside and outside your home, face a myriad of challenges. Winter’s cold grip can wreak havoc on the pipes and other components of the drainage system. Here’s a closer look at the main issues:

1. Impact of Cold on Pipes:

  • Temperature Thresholds: Pipes generally have a tolerance threshold of about -6 degrees Celsius. Exposure to temperatures below this threshold can lead to the pipes becoming brittle, increasing the risk of breakage.

  • Signs of Frozen Pipes: Some indicators include frost formation on pipe exteriors, lack of water flow from taps, and odd odors emanating from drains.

2. Water’s Unique Behavior:

  • Expansion upon Freezing: Water, when it freezes, expands by about 9%. This expansion can exert pressure on pipes, leading to potential damage. Overlooking this can result in costly repairs down the road.

3. Winter Draining Challenges:

  • Clogs: During winter, substances like grease can harden inside pipes, leading to obstructions.

  • Melting Snow and Ice: The melting of snow and ice can significantly increase water flow through drains. Properly maintained and clear drains are crucial during this phase to handle the increased volume of water.


While understanding the basics of drain unblocking is beneficial, some issues are best addressed by professionals for both safety and efficacy.

1. Understand the Freezing Pattern:

  • Inner Circumference Freezing: Water usually starts freezing along the pipe’s inner circumference. As this freezing progresses, it reduces the pipe’s effective diameter, restricting flow.

2. Using Portable Space Heaters:

  • If you’re wondering about thawing external drains, a portable space heater could be an answer, provided the drains are accessible. Gentle and steady heat can gradually melt the ice.

3. Addressing Gaps and Cracks:

  • Ensuring there are no gaps or cracks near your pipes is essential. Cold drafts can exacerbate freezing. Simple fixes like silicone tape can seal minor breaches, but significant issues might require expert intervention.

4. Insulation is Key:

  • Properly insulating your drain pipes can drastically reduce the risk of freezing. Materials like rubber and fiberglass serve as excellent insulators. Particularly, the pipework in roofs, due to its higher exposure to the cold, should be prioritized for insulation.

5. Maintain a Warm Environment:

  • Keeping your heating system active, especially during the coldest periods, can help in preventing pipe freezing. Regular intervals of heating throughout the day can ensure a consistent warmth, safeguarding your drainage system.

6. Address Dripping Taps:

  • A seemingly innocuous dripping tap can cause issues during winter. The dripped water can freeze in external pipes, leading to blockages and potential overflows. It’s crucial to ensure taps are properly closed post-use.

If you’re ever in doubt about addressing a drainage issue, it’s always recommended to consult a professional. They possess the expertise to not only address the current issue but also to diagnose and rectify the root cause of the problem.

IN CONCLUSION: Winter presents its own set of challenges for drainage systems. However, with a proactive approach and timely intervention, many of these issues can be circumvented. Should you face significant drainage issues or require specialised attention, don’t hesitate to reach out to our drainage experts at Ableforce Services on 0330 122 0076 or drop an email at

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