Don’t give water pipes the cold shoulder as temperatures plummet

With icy winds and snow set to sweep large parts of the country this week, the Consumer Council for Water is urging households not to lag behind in protecting their home’s water pipes.

A cold blast of wintry weather has already sent temperatures plummeting and that could increase the risk of water pipes freezing and even bursting if they are not wrapped up.

No one wants to deal with the aftermath of a burst pipe which can ruin possessions and leave people counting the cost of an insurance claim often in excess of £6,000.

That’s why the water watchdog is encouraging home owners to protect their pipes with lagging and insulation. Even if you live in a rented property it’s also worth investigating whether they have been lagged by the landlord.

Here are our six simple steps to reduce the risk of a pipe freezing this winter:

Act now:

  • Get your pipes and water tanks insulated – visit your local DIY store or shop online for a variety of products, such as lagging, that can help.
  • Find your stop tap – being able to turn the water off quickly could save a lot of damage.
  • Insulate outside taps or turn them off at the stop tap and drain the water from them.
  • Fix any dripping taps or overflows. A build-up of ice can cause a blockage.
  • Get contact details of a good plumber – if you do have a problem you will want a professional on hand as quickly as possible. You can check the WaterSafe website for a list of registered plumbers.
  • If you go away for a few days, leave your heating on low and set it to come on at least once every day.

 And here’s what to do if you think your home has a frozen pipe:

  • Find your stop tap and turn it off.
  • Make sure any nearby cold taps are turned on, to allow the water to escape when it thaws.
  • Don’t turn hot taps on until the central heating is switched off.
  • Do what you can to protect or remove anything which might be damaged if the pipe bursts when the water thaws.
  • Check all visible pipes for damage or evidence of freezing. If you can identify which pipe is frozen apply a hot water bottle or hot wet towel.
  • If you notice a leak once the water has thawed and pressure in the pipe has built up again, turn off the stop tap and call a plumber.

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