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Be winter ready in time for Christmas

Wednesday 30th November 2022 15:43

A lady in an orange jumper puts reflective material behind her radiator

  • More than quarter of us have not prepared our homes for winter, despite the risks from freezing pipes and broken boilers. 
  • Due to the cost of living, 26% are sacrificing winter-proofing their home – Thames Water’s Winter Ready tips are free or cost little and can help prevent customers experiencing costly repair bills.
  • 38% are unaware of any support services offered by their utility companies, Thames Water provides financial support schemes for households on low incomes.
With Christmas round the corner, it is important to make sure our homes are ready for colder and wetter conditions but a new study by Thames Water has shown more than quarter of us have not prepared our homes for winter.
The UK’s largest water company, Thames Water, is urging us all to be “winter ready” this year to help prevent customers experiencing costly repair bills resulting from broken boilers, leaks and bursts in their homes. 
A survey of 2000 people* revealed, due to the cost of living, 26% are sacrificing winter-proofing their home. While 21% of people admit to not being good enough or have no experience when it comes to winter proofing the home. 
Thames Water has created a list of simple and practical winter readiness tips and videos to help customers protect their homes. Many of these handy hacks are free or cost little to run, such as locating your stop tap so you can quickly turn off your water in an emergency, bleeding radiators to make sure they are working efficiently and insulating internal pipes. 


Nina White, Thames Water director of financial customer care said: “The last thing anyone wants this Christmas is a burst water pipe in their home. As the weather starts to get colder, there are a lot of small things we can all do to help keep our homes warm and reduce the risk of pipes becoming stressed or even bursting.


“Our easy and practical winter readiness tips are free or cost very little but can save a lot in the long run – a leaking pipe or a burst pipe in the home is expensive to repair and can cause a lot of damage.”


Despite many customers being concerned about the cost of living over the winter period, Thames Water’s survey found more than a third of people (38%) are unaware of any support services offered by their utility companies and 15% are too embarrassed to reach out for help.
Thames Water offers a range of financial support schemes for its customers and currently supports over 300,000 households with discounted bills. Its WaterHelp scheme offers a 50% discount on customer’s bills if they are on a low income. The company has recently increased the income eligibility threshold for this scheme to £17,005 in the Thames Valley and £21,749 in London. This is four months earlier than increases are normally applied to help more customers cope with the cost-of-living crisis.


Nina White added: “Our winter readiness tips don’t just keep the water flowing where it should be: our taps, toilets and home appliances, but can also save money on heating and energy bills. However, we know the cost of living crisis is impacting our customers and we’re here to help. 
“As well as checking if they qualify for financial support, customers can go to our website and set up a payment plan as it’s the best way to help spread the cost of their water bill over a year. If customers are still struggling, we ask that they get in touch so we can understand their individual needs and support with a more tailored plan.”
Thames Water’s WaterSure scheme provides a cap on bills if you are on a water meter and use a larger amount of water because you have a big family or a water-dependent medical condition. The company also offers tailored support schemes to help customers to clear debts and can set up payment plans if customers need flexibility during difficult times.  


Thames Water’s Winter Ready Top Tips: 


Thames Water has collated some of the best tips around for preparing your home for winter and saving water. Lots of these hacks are free or cost very little:
  • It usually costs around £1.75 a metre to insulate a pipe – so about £20 to insulate a typical household’s internal pipework. 
  • Remember to insulate outdoor and garden pipes too.
  • It is essential to know where your stop tap is as it can limit property damage if a pipe bursts/leaks.
  • Remember to bleed radiators. Trapped air makes your radiators less efficient. Use a radiator key (about £1 from a DIY shop) to let air out and keep radiators toasty.
  • If you’re feeling creative, cover some card with foil and slide it behind your radiator. This will reflect heat back into the room, warming it up faster and saving you as much as £17 a year on bills.
  • Pop on fewer laundry loads – one less load a week (washing at 30°C) could save you as much as £34 a year.
  • Boil only the water you need – avoid overfilling the kettle to save an extra £13 a year 
  • Fix leaks: If you’re on a meter, fixing dripping taps and leaky loos could save you money on your water bill. 
  • Clear your drains and gutters.
*The research for Thames Water was carried out online by Opinion Matters throughout 08.11.2022 - 11.11.2022 amongst a panel resulting in 2,010 Nationally Representative UK Respondents responding. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).