Dealing with leaks this winter
Changing winter weather can pose a real challenge for pipes, whether they’re part of our supply system or in and around your home.
Pipes can expand and contract when sub-zero temperatures are replaced by milder weather. The ground surrounding our network can also swell and shrink. As a result, we often see a rise in leaks and bursts at this time of year.
Here’s some advice on how you can help us by reporting leaks, and what you can do at home to prepare for, and cope with, freezing conditions.
Fixing leaks across our network
Leaks can spring up in many places across our 20,000-mile pipe system, especially during the winter.
We’ve seen a rise in leaks in recent days and are prioritising all those reported to us to fix the most urgent first. It’s important we fix them as soon as possible to make sure everyone has the water they need, and to prevent icy conditions.
Let us know if you spot a leak
You can check if your leak has already been reported on our interactive map – if it’s there, we’re aware and responding to it. If it's not:
You can report a leak online. With your help, our teams can get out to fix leaks sooner, which means less water is wasted.
Alternatively, please call us on 080 071 4614. We’re really sorry if we’re delayed in answering your call, but very grateful to anyone who gets in touch to alert us to leaks.
We're fixing more leaks
Thawing pipes mean we’re fixing around 70% more leaks than normal. We’re bringing in more teams to help deal with the rise in leaks reported to us.
Our staff are also busy treating and supplying more water, to keep up with the increased demand.
Last year, we:
- fixed over 60,000 leaks – that’s around 1,100 leaks a week
- invested £25 million in replacing over 50km of leaky water mains
- continued to roll out smart meters to spot leaks in homes and businesses – totalling over 700,000 to date
We have over 500 engineers working to find and fix leaks, day and night.
You can spot many leaks at ground level, but a lot are buried deep underground. We’ve attached thousands of cutting-edge sound detectors to our pipes so we can listen out for the leaks we can’t see.
But did you know a whopping 25% of leaks actually happen at home or the workplace? Fixing these can help save precious water too.Check for leaks in your home
Avoiding burst pipes at home
As temperatures plunge, the pipes in your home can freeze. Then when milder weather arrives there’s a chance a frozen pipe may crack or burst.
If your pipes freeze
When the weather warms up after a cold snap, any frozen pipes in your home will begin to thaw. When this happens, some of the pipes may leak or burst. It's worth taking a few steps now so you’re prepared if this happens.