As winter brings a drop in temperatures South West Water is reminding customers of the importance of being prepared for the colder weather ahead.
A sudden drop in temperature can result in water-related issues, such as frozen pipes and leaks. Water expands by nearly 10% as it freezes and turns into ice, which stops the flow of water through pipes. This can cause even new pipes to split, often resulting in leaks and bursts causing flooding and damage.
Mark Hillson, South West Water’s Drinking Water Services Director, said: “Following Met Office warnings that severe cold weather is set to continue in parts of the UK this week, with the risk of sleet and snow at times continuing, we are urging customers to take action and follow some of our top tips to help protect pipes and prepare homes for the cold weather.”
South West Water’s top tips to prepare your home for cold weather:
– wrap up your pipes and water tanks with lagging – especially those in unheated areas such as lofts, garages or gardens
– fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe
– find your inside stop tap (usually under the kitchen sink or where the pipework enters your property) and make sure you can turn it off
– leave the heating on low if you go away
– check your central heating boiler has been serviced
– keep the contact details of a reputable plumber to hand.
What to do if you have frozen pipes:
1- If you don’t have any water check with neighbours. If they still have water, your pipes may be frozen
2- Check pipes for signs of a split – a leak or burst will not occur until the water has thawed
3- Turn off the supply using the internal stop tap
4- If the central heating and any other water heating appliances are already on, keep on. However, if they are currently turned off do not be tempted to switch them on to thaw frozen pipes as this could cause damage
5- Drain the cold water system only by flushing the toilet and opening cold taps over sinks and baths
6- If you don’t find any damage, turn on all the taps and thaw the frozen pipe using a warm towel or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel
7- When the pipes have thawed and you’re sure no damage or leak has occurred, turn off the taps and slowly switch the supply back using the internal stop tap
8- Check the pipes again now that they are under pressure and check again for signs of damage or a leak before switching on water heating appliances.
If you discover a leak or burst pipe, call a reputable plumber immediately. South West Water supports approved contractor schemes and a list of approved contractors can be found on the WaterSafe website or by calling 0333 207 9030.
It’s important to know that any big freeze is followed by a thaw which can cause interruptions to your water supply. Would you be able to access an alternative water supply during a disruption? If not, get in touch and sign up to our Priority Services Register at www.southwestwater.co.uk/priorityservices
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