We've provided typical examples of issues that can happen to your pipework at home along with some simple tips to fix them.
Common issues and frequently asked questions
It is extremely rare to experience a complete loss of water.
However, if this happens to your property, there are a number of possible causes.
Please note: We can't help restore the water supply if your internal pipes are frozen. You will need to wait until the pipes thaw.
However, if you have no water and you think it's due to frozen pipes here's some advice on how best to resolve the problem:
Compared to water, ice needs more space – so when water freezes it expands, which means a frozen pipe often leads to a burst pipe.
First, check the pipes for any signs of splitting. If you spot any damage, call a plumber. If you don’t get the pipes repaired now, you might suffer from flooding once the water thaws
If there are no splits, turn on the cold water tap nearest your internal stop tap (often located under the kitchen sink) and turn it to a position where the water pressure would normally be slower to check the flow
Turn off the stop tap to cut the water supply and use a gentle heat source, such as a hair dryer or electric fan heater, to gently direct the heat around the internal stop tap until the pipe thaws
Occasionally turning the stop tap completely on and off helps clear any blockages
Do not use electricity where there is a risk of water escaping or a blow torch or naked flame. Also do not light the boiler to thaw out a hot water or central heating system.
If a pipe bursts, turn off the stop tap and leave a tap on to allow the thawed water to drain out. Remember to take the plug out of the sink and contact a qualified plumber.
Unfortunately we cannot be held responsible for any damage to internal pipe work as a result of taking any of these steps.
If your pipes burst, try to minimise any damage from escaping water by taking the following actions:
Immediately turn off your stop tap (see below) and drain your water system (you can do this by turning all the cold taps on in the house and once you have turned off the boiler or immersion heater, turn on all the hot taps)
Collect as much water as you can in buckets, baths and containers, to use for toilet flushing – do not use this water for drinking or cooking
Make sure that your central heating boiler is turned off
Do not touch any wet electrical fittings – call in an electrician
We have some useful advice about how leakage can affect your measured bill or to help you understand changes to your measured bill.
Internal stop tap
The stop tap inside your home allows water in from the pipe in the street. As the property owner it's your responsibility to ensure that this tap is working properly in case you need to turn it off in an emergency.
Internal stop taps are usually located close to the point where the water pipe enters the building. In a typical house for example, this may be under the kitchen sink, in a ground floor bathroom/WC, or in a garage or utility room.
If you do not have an internal stop tap, or your current one is not working, we recommend that you contact a plumber and ask them to install one for you. Please click here for our list of approved plumbers.
If you're having trouble turning off your stop tap, why not try a Surestop switch?
Locating your external stop tap
The diagram shows the typical location of an external stop tap used for turning off water in the event of a burst pipe outside your home. It's usually in the footpath or public highway, just outside your property. In some cases there will be only one stop tap serving a number of properties (shared supply). If this tap isn’t working we have a variety of options for helping you to get it fixed.
Operating the external stop tap
The external stop tap can only be operated by someone other than one of our employees if:
- There is an emergency, to prevent damage to property or injury to persons, or
- All consumers whose water supply is controlled by the stop tap have agreed to the supply being turned off
If you have spotted a problem with any of our equipment, such as, missing or broken meter covers, missing frost protection, hydrants or their marker posts, etc. we would be grateful if you could complete our online form to let us know Report a Fault
In an emergency, where the faulty or damaged equipment is a serious safety hazard to you or anyone passing by, please call us so that we can respond as quickly as possible.
Please note, if our technician has already inspected, the area around will be marked in blue either on the roadway, pavement or covers. This means we have scheduled the repair and will attend to carry out the work. You should not need to report it again unless it has become worse.
Unfortunately, we cannot help with drainage problems, such as damaged or missing large manhole covers or flooding caused by blocked drains. If you need to report a problem with drainage, please contact the supplier for your area.