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14 December 22

Prepare your pipes ahead of the big thaw

Anglian Water and Affinity Water have joined forces to urge customers to make sure pipes within their homes are well insulated to prevent a costly clean up from potential bursts and leaks as the thaw sets in this weekend.

Both companies have already issued advice and warnings to their customers in the Southeast and East of England that exposed water pipes and taps in lofts and gardens need to be lagged to prevent bursts when temperatures drop below zero.

And with temperatures set to suddenly rise again this weekend, homes are even more at risk.

There is particular concern this year as the cost-of-living crisis may mean that customers are having to manage without any heating this winter, making their homes more vulnerable to leaks and bursts which could end up costing thousands in property damage.

Christmas is also a time of year when families may go away. Homes left empty for more than a day or two without the heating on are more at risk from possible freezing and bursts, particularly when the thaw sets in.

Jim Foster, Head of Water Supply at Anglian Water said: “Taking simple measures to protect your home from the risk of frozen and burst pipes not only helps the environment by saving precious water, but crucially, as the cost-of-living is particularly tough this year, will help save customers a lot of money too. Cheap prevention is definitely better than costly repairs when it comes to bursts and leaks”.

He reassured customers that Anglian Water teams, like those at Affinity Water, would be working day and night, and throughout the Christmas period, to cope with the extreme weather conditions and had put contingency plans in place: “Whatever the weather, our teams, and those at neighbouring Affinity Water, will continue to work around the clock to keep customers’ taps flowing and toilets flushing. While we’re not responsible for pipes in people’s homes, we’re always here to help with support and advice for customers to help them keep their homes warm and dry and save them as much money as possible”.

Fiona Wilson, External Communications Manager at Affinity Water said: “Any sudden drop or rise in temperature could cause damage to pipes and property if households aren’t prepared. While people are aware of the damage freezing temperatures can do, they may not realise that when the thaw sets in and temperatures rise it is even more likely to cause damage to pipes in a home causing water to stream from burst pipes in the loft, flooding rooms below.

“This year customers are particularly vulnerable as they may not be heating their homes to save on energy costs. If that is the case it is even more important that they carry out the checks that we and Anglian Water are recommending, and ensure they lag their pipes and visit our websites for advice”.

Top tips and how to videos:

To prevent burst pipes

  • Insulate exposed water pipes with felt, pipe wrap or other insulating material and cover any outside pipe or fitting with a waterproof material. DIY stores have everything you need
  • Make sure your cold-water tank is insulated and that your central heating boiler has been serviced
  • If you have an outside tap, insulate it too
  • Check where your stop tap is to isolate your water supply and make sure you can turn it off. Most are under the sink
  • Leave central heating on a frost protection setting overnight or if you are going away for a few days
  • Make your home more energy efficient and have boilers serviced and bleed radiators
  • If you are planning on leaving your home or office unattended for a long period, turn off the water supply If a burst happens If pipes do freeze, turn off the stop tap, slowly thaw the pipes near where it enters the house with a hair dryer, a towel soaked in hot water or a hot water bottle. Never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw a pipe.


If a pipe bursts, turn off the stop tap, leave an internal tap on to allow thawed water to escape and contact a qualified plumber.

When looking for a plumber, it is recommended to select one that is a member of an approved contractor scheme, such as WaterSafe. Approved businesses can be found at: by typing in your postcode. Or call 0333 207 9030.

Vulnerable Customers and Friends

Affinity Water and Anglian Water are also asking customers to check in on their vulnerable friends and relatives and to get them to contact them through their websites should they need help with paying their bills and ensuring they receive water at all times.

Affinity Water’s free Priority Services Register can be found at to ensure they are supported in the event of any supply issues this winter. The Company is also offering help in certain circumstance with paying bills:

Affinity Water customers can also find out how to save water and save money on their bills by taking a three minute My Water Footprint quiz today. They can get free water-saving device too, find out more at

Anglian Water encourages any customers who are struggling to pay to contact them via their website or Twitter or Facebook accounts or calling their Extra Care Team directly on 0800 169 3630. Anglian Water recently announced its largest-ever package of support for customers struggling with the cost-of-living with £135m worth of help available to an estimated 330,000 customers over the next year – the company’s largest ever support package and builds on a £65 million package announced for 2022.


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