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Warming tips to beat the Winter Freeze: How to prevent burst water pipes in your home

Wednesday 22nd November 2023 12:36

A customers puts insulation around an indoor pipe

A customer insulates a pipe in their home.

  • Thames Water is sharing helpful tips to help customers protect their homes this Winter. 
  • The average cost to repair a leaking pipe in the UK is £330.1
  • Burst pipes on private property are the responsibility of homeowners. 
Thames Water is helping customers prepare for winter by sharing simple tips to help them protect their homes and clean water pipes from cold weather snaps.
With the winter season nearly upon us, it is important to make sure our homes are ready for colder and wetter conditions. Thames Water has a list of handy hacks to help prevent customers experiencing costly repair bills resulting from broken boilers and leaks and bursts from clean water pipes in their homes; with the average cost to repair a leaking pipe in the UK at £330.1
From clearing your drains and gutters to insulating “lagging” your pipes with foam to locating your stop tap so you can quickly turn off your water in an emergency – many of these tips are free or cost little to run.
Sarah Holland, director of operations service centre at Thames Water, said: “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 protect them from damage. The last thing anyone wants this Christmas is a burst water pipe in their home. Our easy and practical winter readiness tips are free or cost very little but can save a lot in the long run.”
The company has emailed customers its warming list of tricks to beat the winter freeze and will be posting advice on its social channels throughout the winter period. 
Thames Water’s Winter Ready Top Tips
When temperatures fall during cold weather, this causes water to freeze and expand, which can cause cracks and splits to appear in pipes. Leaks typically appear as the ice thaws and water finds the cracks to escape. Uninsulated pipes leading to outside taps, next to cold internal walls and in unheated lofts and garages are particularly at risk of this occurring. 
Burst pipes on private property are the responsibility of homeowners, so having the number of a qualified emergency plumber to hand and ensuring home insurance covers leaking pipes are sensible steps to mitigate potential damage.

Thames Water has collated some of the best tips around for preparing your home for winter:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Have the number of a qualified emergency plumber to hand in case of emergencies. 
  • Check your home insurance covers leaking pipes. 


  1. Source:, February 2023
A customer wearing a blue glove removes leaves from a gutter

A customer removes leaves from an outside gutter.