Are your water pipes protected for winter?

Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of CCWater, said: "We have seen recent images in the media of the damage and devastation water can cause to our homes. Lagging your pipes now could avoid a burst pipe later. And knowing what action to take should your pipes freeze could save you thousands of pounds and a lot of trouble."

Don’t wait for a big freeze – act now. Every winter families all over the UK suffer from the effects of pipes bursting and water pouring through their homes as a result. Problems in our homes are our responsibility – so it’s worth taking some time to check you’re covered. Even if your home is rented it’s still worth checking as a burst pipe could damage your belongings and cause inconvenience. Water companies are working hard to raise awareness and are doing a variety of things from sending out leaflets and hosting road shows to giving away lagging kits.

By following a few simple steps now you could keep the water flowing where it should be this winter.

What to do 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 certified plumber.

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