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Beat the Freeze: Avoid Frozen Pipes This Winter

Wrap up warm for winter!

Beat the freeze

We all take our water supply for granted. But if your home or business suffers a burst pipe this winter, you could be left with no water and a hefty bill to repair the damage to your property.

Here’s some advice on how to avoid frozen pipes:

• Insulate water tanks and lag pipes.
• Pay special attention to unheated areas like lofts and garages.
• Check unoccupied properties regularly.
• Fix dripping taps.
• Make sure you know where your stopcock is.
• Check that your boiler has been serviced.
• Minimise draughts from doors and windows.
• If you are away, leave the heating on low.
• If properties are unoccupied for a long time turn off the stopcock.
• Drain outdoor taps and wrap with an outdoor tap jacket.
• Remember garages and outbuildings, and check water supplies and insulation.

What to do if a pipe freezes

• Turn off the water supply.
• Check if the pipe has burst.
• Open affected tap and slowly and thaw with hot water bottles or towel soaked in hot water.
• Frozen pipes should never be thawed with a naked flame or blowtorch.

What to do if a pipe bursts

• Turn off the stopcock and boiler.
• Open all taps to drain the system.
• Call a
qualified plumber. You can find a local approved plumbing business at
• If water has leaked near electrics, switch them off at the mains.
• Once the pipework is repaired, turn off the taps to avoid further flooding.

Winter pipe shopping list

Warm jackets – British Standard tank jackets that come in a wide range of tank sizes.
Pipe lagging – this comes in one metre lengths and is ready-cut down the centre. Choose the right diameter for your pipes.
Strong tape – sturdy cloth tape or insulation tape will help cover the joins.
Tape measure – check how much insulation you’ll need to buy.
Sharp scissors – to trim off the excess lagging and help make the joins neat.
Wrap the tap – your outside tap can be protected with a tap jacket or even a towel.

Your local DIY store should be able to supply you everything you need.