Winter weather advice
In the coldest months of the year, Northumbrian Water is encouraging our customers to beat the freeze by protecting your homes and saving your pipes. When the weather turns, it can freeze pipes - cutting off your water supply or even causing your pipes to burst. 

According to the Association of British Insurers, a burst pipe will cost on average £8,800 to fix. That’s why we’re helping our customers to protect their homes and stay safe this winter. 

 

There’s plenty you can do to help make sure you have hot running water and that your pipes don’t freeze, so here’s our handy little guide for looking after your home.

Top tips for beating the freeze:

Protect

  • Keep an eye out for any exposed pipes, taps and tanks in unheated areas that might be exposed to cold temperatures - such as in your garage or your loft space
  • You can buy cheap lagging from DIY stores and wrap them around your pipes to protect them. They look like foam tubes and are very simple to cut up and pop around your pipes
  • Keep your home heated. If you can, try and keep your heating on constantly at a low temperature, especially during cold spells
  • Fix dripping taps
  • If you’re leaving your house for a few days, leave your heating on low
  • If you’re leaving your property empty for a long time, turn off the stoptap
  • Make sure you know where your stoptap is and that it is working. We’ve also joined forces with WaterSafe this winter to encourage customers to 'find, check and label' their stoptap. To request your free label for your stoptap, please email waterregs@nwl.co.uk
  • Check your boiler has been serviced and make sure there’s no leaks
  • Minimise draughts from doors and windows
  • If you need to do a self-leak test, click here
  • Sign up for pipe insurance with Homeserve

Fix

  • Are your pipes already frozen?! Please don’t panic. First turn off the water supply with the stoptap. Then check if the pipe has burst. Open the affected taps and slowly thaw with hot water bottles or towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch or anything with a naked flame
  • Has your pipe burst?
    • Turn off the stoptap and boiler. Then open all taps to drain the system
    • If it’s near electrical points, switch the electrics off at the mains
    • Check your home insurance for cover
    • You can also visit www.watersafe.org.uk or call 0333 207 9030, to find an approved, local plumber
  • If you’re out and about, please help us spot leaks. Extreme cold weather can cause pipe damage. To save water in your area, report any leaks you spot so that they can be fixed quickly - visit www.nwlcommunityportal.co.uk/leaks or call 0800 393084

 

For more winter water saving tips, click here. Because water’s worth saving!

Who fixes the leak in my home? What happens if my pipes burst?

Northumbrian Water own the water pipes which run beneath the street up to the point where it meets your property plus the meter or stoptap outside your property, so any leaks are down to us to repair.


Once the pipework crosses the boundary it becomes the responsibility of the owner, whether it's a leak on the pipe beneath a private driveway or somewhere in the property itself. Some older properties share water supply pipes, which generally means that the responsibility for repairing it would be shared between you and your neighbours.

 

If you've got a leak in your home, or on your land, you'll need to get it fixed.


You can find a list of approved, local plumbers at www.watersafe.org.uk


We've got more information about leaks and how to report them on our Community Portal Leak Map. Check it out here.

Do you own a business?

If you are a business, call us on 0800 028 3557 or visit www.totalwatersolutions.co.uk to find out more on how to beat the freeze.

Why do pipes burst?

When the cold hits, the lower temperatures can cause the ground surrounding pipes to move and stresses the joints causing them to leak. The colder it gets, the more likely this is to happen. There are 10,500 miles of pipework in the North East with millions of joints holding them together. Over time and with the cold water, joints can lock or tension can build up which causes pipes to crack. We treat 680 million litres of water every day, so even a small crack can cause problems. That’s why our team are on hand, come rain or shine, with a dedicated leakage team to help.

 

The cold weather will affect your home pipes the same way. It can also freeze the water inside which prevents water flowing to your taps. Our handy and simple tips above do make a difference and can help you to protect your home.

What does Northumbrian Water do in winter to protect pipes?

Northumbrian Water continue to fix leaks in a timely manner and prioritise any leaks that have the danger of freezing – preventing slips and trips in the icy conditions. If you see any leaks when out and about this winter, then please help to report it via our leakage portal here.

Need a little extra help this winter?

As we make our way through these challenging times, we understand that some of our customers may need extra help. Our Priority Services are here for all our customers, to give extra support. These are particularly useful if you or someone you know; were advised by your GP to shield, live alone, have long term health conditions or have any/look after any children under the age of five.

 

Sign up online at nwl.co.uk/priority

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