Welsh Water and Admiral join forces to get Welsh homes ready for winter
- ‘Wrap up Wales’ campaign highlights need to protect water pipes to prevent the inconvenience and expense of frozen or burst pipes
- Welsh Water customers given opportunity to apply for one of 1,500 free lagging kits
- 3,500 calls a day made to insurers at the height of the 2010 cold spell for burst pipe damage with repair costs averaging up to £7,000
- Less than half of water customers have taken steps to avoid frozen pipes
- Fifth of the population have no idea what to do if a pipe freezes in their home
With the winter upon us, two of Wales’ biggest companies are reminding people to make sure that the water pipes in their homes are wrapped up to avoid the disruption and expense that frozen water pipes can cause. They are urging people to spend a few moments to protect their pipes from bursting and causing damage that can run into thousands of pounds.
The problem is usually linked to pipes that are exposed to very low temperatures, such as those in garages, outhouses and attics. The water in the pipes expands when it freezes, which can lead to a burst when the pipes thaw. Urgent and expensive repair is then needed to fix the problem.
Recent research by Consumer Council for Water found that about half of households in Wales haven’t taken steps to avoid frozen pipes. It found that people aged 24 to 35 are most at risk of not being properly prepared. While a fifth of us have no idea what to do if a pipe freezes in our home.
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), severe cold weather experienced during the winter of 2010 saw around 3,500 calls a day being made to insurers to report frozen pipes at its peak. An average repair cost for damage caused by bursts pipes can be up to £7,000.
When a problem occurs on pipes in homes it is the responsibility of the home owner or landlord therefore, it’s worth taking time to check they are well insulated. The advice is also relevant to any type of property which might be left empty for a period of time over the winter.
Ian Christie, Welsh Water’s managing director of water services, said: “Frozen pipes which burst can cause unnecessary inconvenience and expense however, this can be easily avoided by taking a few moments to check and protect the pipes.
“If you are unfortunate enough to experience frozen pipes, then make sure you don’t leave taps open and unattended. As the pipes thaw, the water will likely start to flow which could lead to baths and sinks overflowing if you are not around.
“Our message is simple – take action now to make sure your home is wrapped up and ready for winter.
Noel Summerfield, Admiral’s head of household, said: “Escape of water due to a burst pipe can cause an awful lot of damage very quickly. This can make a home uninhabitable while the moisture has to dry out which is distressing, especially in the depths of winter.
“Homeowners should take some time before winter truly sets in to check pipes and get them lagged rather than risk the inconvenience of having to make a claim.”
More information on how to prevent pipes freezing can be found on www.wrapupwales.com. There is also an opportunity to apply for one of 1,500 free lagging kits.
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Notes to editor:
How to prevent pipes from freezing:
- Make sure you know the location of your stop tap so you can reach it quickly in an emergency (TIP: It's often under the kitchen sink).
- Make sure any exposed pipes are wrapped or lagged.
- Keep an eye out for frozen pipes, bursts or leaks.
- Fix dripping taps – a gentle trickle of water can freeze and completely block the pipe
What to do if pipes freeze:
- Find your internal stop tap and turn it off.
- Turn on nearby cold taps, to allow the water to escape when it thaws.
- Don't turn hot taps on until the central heating is switched off.
- Move things that might be damaged if the pipe bursts when the water thaws.
- Apply a hot water bottle or hot wet towel to a frozen pipe.
- If you notice a leak after thawing, turn off the internal stop tap and call a plumber.
- If you are unsure of anything at any time call a plumber who is registered with the WaterSafe scheme at www.watersafe.org.uk