Wrap up to beat the freeze


Northumbrian Water is urging customers to wrap up their water pipes as well as their Christmas presents to guard against the misery of burst pipes this winter.

Now that the long hot summer and mild autumn are over, winter is well and truly on its way. As temperatures drop, so the chances of frozen pipes increase. By taking a few simple precautions now, people can protect their homes and businesses to prevent potential damage, stress and expensive repairs in the event of a big freeze.

To download an information leaflet and to watch a video giving practical advice about protecting your home or business against frozen pipes go to www.nwl.co.uk/beatthefreeze.

To prevent pipes from freezing:
• Ensure pipes are properly insulated, both inside and out.
• Keep heating turned on, or on a timer for short periods every day, to maintain warmth.
• Check for draughts around windows and doors and insulate if needed, as pipes can freeze if near a draught.
• Make sure pipes and tanks in the loft are lagged.
• Customers should find out where the property’s internal private stop tap is located and check that it works in case of an emergency. If it does not work then you should contact a plumber who will be able to help.
• Turn off valves to outside taps.
• If the property is going to be unoccupied, the water supply should be turned off at the private stop tap and internal water pipes and tanks should be drained.

Richard Seales, Northumbrian Water’s customer contact manager, said: "It’s not just people who need to keep warm and wrap up with extra layers in winter. Water pipes and tanks also need protection against the elements.

"By following our simple advice, customers can keep their homes and businesses frost-free and avoid costly plumbing bills and a huge amount of inconvenience during severe weather conditions.”

If pipes do freeze:
• Apply gentle heat to the pipes. Use a hair dryer, heat lamp or fan heater. Do not use a naked flame or blow torch. Start at the tap and work away from it, leaving the tap open to allow thawed water to escape.
• Watch the pipes for any splits which may develop.
• If any bursts are found, turn the water off and call a plumber who will be able to help.

Northumbrian Water is also asking customers to help ensure external leaks are repaired as quickly as possible by reporting them to the dedicated leak-line on 0800 393 084. This is a free phone service and operates 24 hours a day.

For more information contact Mike Chipchase on 0191 301 6720.

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