Sunday, 28 March 2021

Exploding Taps

This is what -18 °C looks like! 

the two sets of exploded taps

Gregor left work at Balintore Castle on a Friday evening and everything was OK. On the Monday morning a vigorous fountain was spouting from these taps. The extreme low temperatures had cased the metal of the tap bodies to split open. Interestingly both sets of taps had split at the same point to the right of centre. In addition, the left hand tap has a narrower split on the left too.

There was significant flooding, and the carpet had to be dried out over a bannister rail for over a week. The extreme cold also caused some breaches in the roof, and rain flooded in to complete the inundation. Not a point of high morale.

When I purchased new taps, I noticed this model was on sale on eBay for around £15 so this may account for the thinness of the metal. As with most things at Balintore, the sink and taps were bought second-hand.

I invested in slightly more expensive taps, but there was an advantage to the fact that the weak point was accessible rather than in pipework behind walls or under the floor. Gregor has never seen metal split like this due to the cold, and it was a first for me too.


  1. Looks like a poor casting with thin walls. I would invest in a water stop for the mains incoming so you can QUICKLY isolate the water pressure or shut it off completely when the building is empty. Leaks can happen and in a large building it may be a while before the damage is apparent. This is what I use. Easy to install and use - just like a light switch.

  2. If a building is left unoccupied in UK with no heating during the winter, the water should always be turned off at the main stopcock. In Scotland that should be a no-brainer. I think you have been very lucky up to now...

    1. My builders were using the water supply - what I would have done and what my builders do is frequently divergent. :-)

    2. I suspect that even Scottish builders will understand the risk of flooding a building during a cold weekend. They are surely capable of operating a water stopcock. You have a huge asset there, you really don't want to flood it back to uninhabitability. The device GavinW shows seems ideal to me.