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Frozen or burst pipes

During cold weather, the pipes in your home can freeze and then when the temperature rises there’s a chance a frozen pipe may crack or burst. Don’t worry, our tips and advice should help in these situations.

A man turning a stop valve in a kitchen cupboard

Frozen pipes

Pipes will often have a light coat of frost on the outside if they're frozen. The water from your taps may also slow down to a trickle. Follow these steps to get the water flowing:

  1. Find your stop valve, which is usually under the sink in the kitchen. Turn it clockwise to stop the water. Read our help page on how to find your stop tap.
  2. Turning your taps on will allow the water to escape when the pipes start to thaw.
  3. Take off any wrapping or lagging from your pipes and remove any nearby furniture or objects that you want to keep dry, just in case.
  4. If you think a pipe is frozen, try using a wrapped hot water bottle or warm towels to help it thaw it out slowly and safely.

Once your pipes have thawed, double check there are no leaks before turning your water back on. You can do this by running a dry cloth along the pipe and checking it for water. If there’s water on the cloth, monitor the situation for a few minutes and see if the water continues to escape from the pipe. If it does, it’s likely you have a leak and need to call a plumber to help. We recommend that you leave your water turned off until your pipe is fixed.

If you're sure that none of your pipes are leaking, turn your water back on. Your water supply should now be back to normal.

Burst pipes

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 so it's worth taking a few steps now to be prepared just in case this happens:

  1. As the temperature rises, check your pipes in any cold places such as the loft or garage - can you spot any water dripping from the pipe?
  2. Find your stop tap, which is usually under the kitchen sink and turn it clockwise to turn off the water.
  3. Turn off your heating, open all your taps to drain the system quickly.
  4. Soak up any escaping water with towels.
  5. Check with your home insurance company to see if you’re covered for leaks and bursts or call a plumber.
  6. If there is any water near your electrics, be sure to switch them off at the mains.

Learn more about getting your home winter ready.

We’ll be out checking our water mains for leaks and bursts. If you spot a leak in the road or street, please let us know.

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