Winter water: tips to keep your pipes unfrozen this winter

Don't let this happen to your water supply over the winter

Don't let this happen to your water supply over the winter - Credit:

More than half of households in England and Wales admitted to not protecting their pipes last winter – increasing the risk of a burst pipe and being landed with an average insurance claim of £6,500 to £7,50.

The Consumer Council for Water is urging consumers to take action now to protect their pipes from freezing and bursting in the icy grip of winter.

Here’s six tips to reduce the risk of a pipe freezing in your home this winter:

1: 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.

2: Find your stop tap – being able to turn the water off quickly could save a lot of damage.

3: Insulate outside taps or turn them off at the stop tap and drain the water from them.

4: Fix any dripping taps or overflows. A build-up of ice can cause a blockage.

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5: 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.

6: 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 happens if your pipes do indeed freeze? Yes, call a plumber. But there are initial steps you can take before resorting to that. These definitely come handy if the dreaded freeze happens over the holiday season when plumbers are off enjoying Christmas or charging high call-out fees.

- 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. For more information on the Get Ready for Winter Campaign visit this link.