Wrap up for winter

Wrap up for winter

A sudden drop in temperature can wreak havoc with water pipes, particularly pipes that are fully exposed to the elements! A burst water pipe in your property will not only leave you without water but also a hefty bill to repair the damage too.

So here are some helpful tips to help:

  • Insulate water tanks and lag pipes – lagging material is available from our online water efficiency shop or all good DIY stores
  • Make sure there are no gaps in the lagging at bends, valves or fittings
  • Pay special attention to water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like loft spaces and garages
  • Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe
  • Find your property’s internal stopcock and make sure you can turn it off – most stopcocks are fitted under the kitchen sink and shut off by turning clockwise
  • Minimise draughts from outside and close doors and windows to unheated parts of your property
  • Leave the heating on low when you are away and get a friend or neighbour to check your property regularly
  • If a property is going to be unoccupied for long periods, turn off the water at the stopcock and consider draining down the system so there is no water left in the pipes

If a pipe freezes

  • Turn off the water supply at the stopcock
  • Check to see if the pipe has burst
  • Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end nearest to the tap – you could also use a hairdryer on a low setting but never use a naked flame or blowtorch
  • Don’t leave taps dripping or running as the water may not drain down the plughole if the pipe below is frozen

If a pipe bursts

  • Turn off the stopcock and boiler
  • Open all taps to drain the system quickly
  • Soak up/block off escaping water with thick towels
  • Call a qualified plumber. To find your nearest WaterSafe accredited plumber visit watersafe.org.uk
  • If water has leaked near your electrics or into any electrical appliances, switch them off at the mains
  • Turn off taps once the pipework is repaired to avoid further flooding

More practical information to help you survive the winter months – like essential tips on winter motoring, and finding out what benefits are available to help meet heating costs – can be found on the Met Office website and the Government’s ‘Get Ready for Winter’ initiative.