A sudden change in temperature can cause frozen pipes to burst.
The change from freezing to warmer temperatures can cause pipes to expand and contract, meaning that they can end up leaking, cracking or even bursting.
We put plans in place ahead of an expected thaw across our operating area, but over the last few days we have seen a threefold increase in burst mains compared to normal - this is because of the quick shift in extreme temperature change that we saw on Sunday. We have had our full emergency response team mobilised to deal with the situation and had more than 750 colleagues working to find and fix leaks as quickly as possible.
We’ll continue to do all we can to maintain supplies to our 3 million customers and to prioritise our Priority Services customers.
In rural Ceredigion our response has been hampered due to the number of burst mains in the area and leak detection has been hindered further by the heavy rain on Sunday. We have however been taking steps to try and restore supplies by putting 25% more water through the system there – which is more than was needed during the peak of the summer heatwave. We are also using our fleet of tankers to move water around and are monitoring the network 24/7. Over the last two days, we have also supplied 30,000 bottles of water to affected customers in the area and delivered water to customers on our Priority Services Register.
Customers can help by keeping a close eye on their own properties and use our website to report leaks and only call if it’s an emergency.
How to deal with burst pipes
- If a pipe in your home bursts, this is your responsibility to contact a private plumber – check Watersafe.org.uk for registered plumbers
- Welsh Water is only responsible up until a property’s boundary
- When the water in your pipes freeze, it causes a build-up of pressure which - when it thaws - can cause the pipes to split
- If you are experiencing any bursts on your own property then please don’t panic, follow these steps:
- Try to find where the burst is - and turn off the supply urgently by turning the stop tap clockwise
- Find out where your stop tap is - it’s usually under the kitchen sink, or in a downstairs toilet. It may sometimes be in a garage or outhouse
- Open all taps to reduce flooding
- Soak up or block off escaping water with thick towels
- Turn off your electrics: if the water is near anything electrical - including lights, sockets or appliances - don’t touch them. Electrical wiring damaged by water can be very dangerous and you’ll probably need to call a professional to repair damage
- Call a registered plumber - if you need help to repair a burst pipe, contact a Watersafe-assured plumber watersafe.org.uk
- You can find more help and advice on our website dwrcymru.com/winterready.