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14 November 23

Is your home ready for winter?

With a quick check round the house, you could save on potential plumbing bills by checking that your pipes are ready for the winter cold.

As winter sets in, Affinity Water, the UK’s largest water only supplier, is contacting their customers to prepare them for what could happen in their homes if they don’t carry out a few essential checks.

Simple actions such as lagging exposed pipes and taps, as well as those in unheated areas of your home like in lofts and garages could save households on expensive plumbing repair bills.

Pipe lagging is a simple and effective way to protect your pipes from freezing and bursting, improve energy efficiency, and reduce your energy bills. It's important to lag pipes before the cold weather sets in to prevent any damage to your pipes and home.

Turning off all heating in a home can lead to problems later if thaws set in. Sometimes, pipes freezing and thawing can cause them to burst. Surprisingly, it's actually the thawing process that can cause a pipe to burst. This can happen when pressure continues to build as the newly thawed liquid begins to flow and forcefully pushes against the still-frozen areas within the pipe.

Water pipes in lofts and in gardens can freeze in cold weather which in turn often leads to leaks and damage when they thaw. It has warned that customers who are managing without any heating this winter are more vulnerable.

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

Simple steps to get homes ready before any big freeze hits could prevent potentially thousands of pounds of property damage.

Affinity Water said: “Any sudden drop in temperature could cause damage to your pipes and property if households aren’t prepared. We’re aware that customers are particularly vulnerable as they may not be heating their homes to save on energy costs. We appreciate that the cost of living is causing an impact, but it is important that customers carry out our checks, lag their pipes and visit our website for advice to help them in the long run.”

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.
  • Make sure your cold-water tank is insulated.
  • If you have an outside tap, insulate it too.
  • Check where your stop tap is to isolate your water supply and make sure it works.
  • 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.
  • Carry out a My Water Footprint home visit:
  • If you are planning on leaving your home or office unattended for a long period, turn off the water supply.

What to do if you have a burst pipe

  • Turn off the water supply coming into your property at the stop tap and switch off your boiler.
  • Open all your taps to drain the system and allow thawed water to escape as quickly as possible, saving some water in a bucket for flushing toilets and hand washing. When the water stops running, turn all the taps off.
  • Soak up escaping water with towels to limit the damage.
  • Contact a qualified plumber* to work on the plumbing system in your home.
  • If water has leaked near your electrics, do not touch them and switch them off at the fuse box.

To avoid problems in the future

  • Make sure you know where your stop tap is and check it’s working every six months.
  • If you are going away, leave your heating on low or on a timer.
  • Ensure all pipes in your roof space or loft, as well as pipes in other areas that may be vulnerable to the cold, are insulated and your boiler is serviced.
  • Have the name and telephone number of your nearest qualified plumber to hand. Keep it by the boiler or stop tap so it’s handy.
  • Get a neighbour to check inside your home occasionally if you go away.

If you spot that one of your pipes might be frozen, turn off your inside stop tap immediately. It's usually located under the kitchen sink, but can also be found in downstairs bathrooms, kitchen cupboards, garages, cellars and under the stairs. Turn off the water supply coming into your property at the stop tap and switch off your boiler. 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.

Affinity Water is also asking customers to check in on their vulnerable friends and relatives and to get them to sign up to Affinity Water’s free Priority Services Register to ensure they are supported in the event of any supply issues this winter. There is also help in certain circumstance with paying bills:

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Our Communications team handles all media enquiries on behalf of Affinity Water and its employees.

Contact us on 01707 277 110 or email

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