How to avoid getting soaked by the cold snap

The recent cold snap which left many households high and dry with frozen water pipes could have the opposite effect as the temperature begins to rise. The Consumer Council for Water wants homeowners to know who to call if a leak, or worse, a burst pipe occurs on their property.

Water expands as it gets colder, and if it freezes it can put enough pressure on household pipes to cause them to burst at the seams. Only as the weather warms up and the water starts to flow again does the damage become clear.

The homeowner is usually responsible for repairing any leaks on the supply pipe running to their property under their garden and for the plumbing inside the house. Check your building insurance policy to see if it includes damage to these pipes.

If there is a major leak on your property which needs immediate attention turn the water off at the stop tap and call a certified plumber. Certified plumbers near you can be found through the following links:

Water Industry Approved Plumber Scheme

Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering

Many water companies, as an extra service, will offer to help find a small leak in your front or back garden. They may also be able to give advice or assistance to repair it, but they are not obligated to offer an emergency repair service.

Those customers who have a water meter may be eligible for a reduction in their bill so that they do not pay for water lost through the leak. However, the leak must be underground and repaired quickly.

Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “As the weather is beginning to warm up it may be worth taking a couple of minutes to do a simple check for small leaks around your home. The earlier a leak is caught, the less damage it’s able to do.

“If you have a water meter, the easiest way to check for a leak is to turn off appliances, such as the washing machine or dishwasher and make sure that no water is being used, and then check that the dial on the meter has stopped turning. If it is registering water usage, you may have a leak.”

Where’s my stop tap?

Most properties have a stop tap inside the home where the main water supply pipe comes into the building. Usually this is under the kitchen sink but it can be in a garage or utility room. The external stop tap serving the property is usually away from the building in the road or on the pavement near to where the supply pipe connects to the water company’s main. External stop taps can sometimes be shared among neighbours.

Veolia Water has a Youtube video of how to find an internal stop tap and how to find an external stop tap.

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