Whether we are in for an Arctic winter or not, we can reasonably expect temperatures to drop towards freezing in the coming weeks; therefore, being prepared is crucial.
Every winter, we receive calls from customers about their water pipes freezing, brusting or leaking. We can only offer advice at this stage, as we do not hold responsibility for our customers’ private supply pipes.
If there is a leak on your property, it is your responsibility to fix it, and we recommend contacting a locally approved plumber through the WaterSafe approved plumbers scheme.
Here are a few simple tips on how to avoid burst pipes or how to cope if you have one.
Before the big freeze
- Ensure that your pipework and taps are wrapped with good quality lagging.
- Repair dripping taps and faulty ball valves.
- Stop draughts and keep the house warm.
- Locate your internal stop tap and make sure it is in a good working order. If this is not fully functional, we would again recommend contacting an approved plumber to look into this for you.
- Keep the name and number of your plumber handy in case of an emergency situation.
If you do not have water
Please check with your neighbours to see if they have water. If they still do, it is likely that it is only your supply that is affected in some way and could be caused by frozen pipework. If you feel this is not the case, then please contact our emergency helpline on 0345 702 3797 for further advice.
If your pipes freeze
- Turn off your internal stop tap.
- Examine pipes where accessible for splits or forced joints. If there are none, apply gentle heat to the pipe, starting from an open tap. For this, you can use a hot water bottle or a cloth soaked in hot water.
- Put a portable heater in the room (not in the roof space or where there might be a risk of fire). Do not use any electrical appliance where it might get wet.
If you have a burst pipe
- Turn off the internal stop tap.
- Block the escaping water with towels.
- Open all taps to reduce pressure around the leak and limit possible flooding.
- Call your plumber (through the WaterSafe approved plumbers scheme). If this is something that you are unable to control and is likely to cause damage to your home, then please call our emergency helpline on 0345 702 3797 and we may be able to assist with isolating the supply.
- Don’t forget to turn off the taps once the problem is fixed.
If you are leaving your property empty
- Leave the heating on for at least an hour a day while you are away from home.
- In severe weather, or if severe weather is forecast, you should leave your heating on day and night at your usual temperature setting.
- If you are going to be away for a while, consider turning off your inside stop tap and draining the system. It is to make sure there is no water in the pipes to freeze.
- In severe weather, consider asking a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away, so if you suffer a burst, it will be detected as soon as possible. Also, make sure they know where your internal stop tap or stopcock is located and that it is in working order.
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