Get ready for winter blog


Get your water pipes ready for winter

The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) is urging homeowers and renters to ensure their homes are prepared for winter by protecting pipes from the freezing weather.

Young people who are looking forward to spending their first Christmas in a new home, in particualr those aged 24 to 35 are most at risk of not being properly prepared when it comes to protecting pipes from the freezing weather, according to research from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater).

And despite recent winters being blighted by freezing weather and snow, one in five water customers still have no idea what to do if a pipe freezes in their home. The impact of a burst pipe can be devastating and that's why the water watchdog is urging homeowners to act now by lagging their pipes as temperatures start to plummet.

Dame Yve Buckland, chair of CCWater, said: "When people move into a new home they might not even think to check whether their water pipes are well protected from the cold weather. "But lagging your pipes before temperatures fall and finding out what to do if one does freeze could end up saving you thousands of pounds and lots of disruption."

"Problems with pipes in our own homes are our responsibility so it's worth taking time to check they are well insulated. Even if you live in a rented property it's also worth investigating whether they have been lagged by the landlord, as a burst pipe could end up wrecking your possessions."

By following our simple advice you can also help ensure a burst pipe won't dampen your festive celebrations:

Act now:

  • Get your pipes and water tanks insulated - visit your local DIY store or shop on line for a variety of products that can help.
  • Wrap bends or hard-to-get-at pipes with securely fixed strips of insulation.
  • 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.
  • On very cold days, open the hatch to your loft to let warm air in from other parts of the house and prevent pipes from freezing.
  • If you go away for a few days, leave your heating on low and set it to come on at least once every day.

What to do if you do have a problem:

  • 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.
  • If you are unsure of anything at any time call a plumber who is registered with the  WaterSafe scheme.

Follow The Consumer Council for Water on twitter (@WaterWatchdog) for regular tips on how to protect your pipes this winter.

More information about protecting your home this winter.

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