Weather forecasters are warning that colder weather is on the way and Southern Water experts are warning householders to make sure their homes and businesses are ready for a freeze.
Burst pipes cause untold misery but there are a few simple steps you can take.
Lag your pipes
When the water in pipes freeze, the ice expands and bursts them. When the thaw comes so does a flood. Cheap foam tubing from your local DIY store can be fitted in seconds. Attics and where the water supply comes in the front door are key points.
Find your stop tap
This lets you switch your water off and if you do get a burst, it will minimise the damage. Try under your sink or stairs.
Leave your heating on low
Especially if you’re going away, this prevents pipes from freezing
Get your boiler serviced
In cold snaps, boilers have to work harder so they often break in winter. Get yours serviced regularly.
Bleed your radiators
Central heating with air trapped inside is less efficient and takes longer to heat your home.
Phil Tapping, Head of Leakage at Southern Water, has some extra advice for business owners:
“During the freeze/thaw event of February 2018, almost three quarters of the water lost from our network was due to bursts on customer premises.
“It was heartbreaking for anyone who suffered but I felt a special sympathy for business people who came back to shops or lock ups on Monday morning to find water and pouring out the system over a very short period when the property is left unoccupied.
“In addition to a huge clean up, they faced damaged stock and financial losses because they couldn’t start business until the mess was cleared.”
Mr Tapping says that leaving some heat on or even switching off the water over the weekend when a seriously cold spell is forecast can prevent the worst.
And Rachel Ryan-Crisp, Head of Vulnerability, asked customers to think about neighbours.
“If you have a relative or neighbour who might not realise a cold snap is on the way or might be unable to carry out their own cold weather checks, see if you can help.
“And tell them we maintain a register of priority customers which they can be added to by calling 0800 027 0800 from (9AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday,”
If you wish to find more about cold weather tips, you can do so by visiting the Southern Water website – southernwater.co.uk/help-advice/weather/prepare-for-winter
Learn about Southern Water’s priority services register at – southernwater.co.uk/account/extra-help-and-support