CCWater urges you to protect your business from burst pipes

31 October 2012

Each winter businesses suffer frozen and burst pipes because they are not as prepared as they could be for exceptionally cold periods of weather.

Research by the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) indicates that only 1 in 5 owners of small and medium sized businesses are sure about the best thing to do to minimise the risk of a frozen pipe bursting.

While the vast majority (84%) of businesses say they would know what to do about frozen pipes, when questioned further only 20% actually did know the most appropriate action to take. Also 1 in 4 businesses do not have tanks and pipes lagged in readiness for the winter.

Most business customers, however, said they would welcome advice and guidance from their local water company or another expert source.

Tony Smith, Chief Executive of CCWater, said: “Winter can be a difficult time financially, but could be much worse if you have to deal with frozen and burst water pipes. There could be a significant impact on business, stock and customers and therefore your bottom line.

“Prevention is certainly better than cure and investing a little time and money now could save major costs and insurance claims in the longer term.”

CCWater tips for preventing frozen pipes:
# Ensure water pipes in cold draughty areas are insulated.
# Insulate outside taps or turn them off at the stop tap and drain the water from them.
# If you plan to close the business for a few days or over the Christmas period, leave the heating on low.

What to do if your pipes freeze:
• Find your stop tap and turn it off.
• Make sure any nearby cold taps are turned on, to allow the water to escape when it thaws.
• Don′t turn hot taps on until the central heating is switched off.
• Do what you can to protect or remove anything which might be damaged if the pipe bursts when the water thaws.
• Check all visible pipes for damage or evidence of freezing.
• If you can identify which pipe is frozen apply a hot water bottle or hot wet towel.
• If you notice a leak once pressure in the pipe has built up again, turn off the stop tap and call a plumber.
• If you are unsure of anything at any time call a certified plumber.

There’s lots more information and other useful advice about how to contact your water company in an emergency on CCWater’s website HERE.

SME customer online survey:
• A total of 418 senior decision makers within organisations of between 1 and 249 employees were surveyed online between the 31/08/12 and 11/09/12 across England and Wales. The survey was focussed on senior decision makers who had knowledge of their organisation’s premises management. Respondents were drawn at random from the YouGov panel of SMEs in England and Wales. A number of key business differences were analysed including: the organisation size, sector and primary use of premises.
• The full research report can be found HERE.

The Consumer Council for Water:
• Was set up in October 2005 to represent consumers in England and Wales.
• Costs each water customer an average of 21p per year.
• Gained £285 million from water companies in reduced prices and extra investments.
• Has taken up over 100,000 consumer complaints about water and sewerage companies.
• Has to date secured over £15 million in compensation and rebates for customers.
• Is a non-departmental public body reporting to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Welsh Government.
• Has a committee for Wales, and four regional committees in England.
• Website -

For public enquiries to the Consumer Council for Water, please contact via email on, via phone on 0845 039 2837, or via text phone on 0121 345 1044.

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