The last few days have seen freezing temperatures, frost and ice and the Met Office is predicting a frozen start to 2017. Yet many of us still don't have our water pipes protected against the cold weather - with a few days of the Christmas break left, now is a great time to get things done. As the temperatures drop the ground freezes and then later thaws, and it’s when we have these swings in temperatures that we often see more leaks and burst water pipes.
Severn Trent is ready to deal with the cold snap and has brought in extra resources so that it can cope with any increase in work. The company will also be making sure it has the right vehicles, such as 4x4’s, so that work to repair leaks and bursts can continue if we see ice and maybe even some snow over the coming weeks.
But it’s important for customers to understand how they can look after their own pipework, as Malcolm Whittaker, who has over 30years of experience repairing leaks for Severn Trent explains:
“Colder weather can wreak havoc on household water pipes and many of our customers may not realise that Severn Trent is only responsible for the water mains and service pipes in the public highway. Anything inside the property boundary is the responsibility of the homeowner.
“When water freezes within a pipe it expands, putting more pressure on the pipes and joints, often causing pipes to split or joints to pull apart.
“Taking steps now to make sure the pipework leading to your home and within your property is protected can help avoid problems with frozen pipes once the temperatures drop.
“If you haven’t done it already, now is the time to be getting ready for the cold weather. We’ve got lots of tips and advice on our website at stwater.co.uk/winter and even a ‘how to...’ video. My top tip is to lag your pipes. It’s really easy - you can get pipe lagging very cheaply at your local DIY store and it’s really easy to fit – it just wraps around your pipe. And find out where your stop tap is – you’ll need it if you have a problem.”
“If your pipes do become frozen, check them for any signs of splitting. If you spot any damage, call a plumber – preferably a WaterSafe plumber who is checked and qualified – you can find one at watersafe.org.uk. If you don’t get the pipes repaired when frozen, it’s highly likely that you’ll suffer from flooding once the water thaws.”
The water company is also advising landlords and businesses to check their premises carefully and make sure they’re also ready for the cold snap. “Now’s the time to carry out a visual inspection of the internal pipework for any signs of wear and tear – and get any problems fixed by a plumber,” said Malcolm.
He added: "We’ve seen lots of images in the media of the damage and devastation water and flooding can cause to our homes. Lagging your pipes now could avoid a burst pipe later. And knowing what action to take if your pipes do freeze could save you thousands of pounds and a lot of trouble and heartache."