As the forecast is for very low temperatures over the next few days, here are a few tips for around the home - which we hope you won't need!
If you have frozen pipes, try some “self help” and do virtually the same as any plumber and that is to apply heat moderately to any pipe that is affected either internally or externally.
If the toilet is backing up due to frozen external waste pipes this can be treated by pouring warm to hot (not boiling) water over the pipes outside. Sinks can also be similarly affected and the same treatment can be applied. Note that it may ultimately still be a choked drain or waste and that needs a plumber to attend.
Mains supply blocked
If the main water supply into any home (cold water at the kitchen sink) is affected and stops running this may in all probability be due to a frozen pipe and the way to help is to apply heat onto the pipe with warm air from a fan heater or hairdryer to help get the water flowing again. Normally the pipe will be located inside the sink unit or be inside a pipe box close to the sink so these areas need to be warmed up. It may take some time for any heat to work effectively on the frozen pipe.
Bath/wash hand basin/w.c. cistern blocked
If the cold water supply to a bath, wash basin or w.c. cistern stops this can be due to frozen pipes in the attic. It may help to lift the attic hatch to allow heat to go into the attic.
If pipes thaw and water is leaking turn off at the main supply stopcock valve or ‘surestop’ valve (a switch within the sink base unit) both will generally be located near to the kitchen sink. If the leak is in the attic still turn off the water as stated but open the bath taps to drain and empty the main water storage tank in the attic.
Form small holes in any ceiling that has water leaking above it to let the water escape and which can then be caught in a suitable container to minimise damage in the property. This action may help prevent the whole ceiling falling down.