Severn Trent gives advice to customers with frozen pipes in their home as the ‘Beast from the East’ hits hard
Wednesday 28th February 2018
The ‘Beast from the East’ has well and truly landed now and Severn Trent is reporting a huge increase in customers calling about frozen pipes.
The water company has some great tips and advice for what to do if the pipes in your home or business are frozen.
Jodie Bowen, Customer Contact Lead for Severn Trent, explains: “Today we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of calls we’ve had from customers about frozen pipes. Usually when people find that the water is off in their home, they quite rightly give us a call, however most of these calls today have turned out to be the customer’s pipework being frozen. As we’re not responsible for the pipework inside homes, we can only issue advice on what to do, but we’ve got plenty of it.”
Severn Trent was ready for the cold season, bringing in extra resources so that it can cope with any increase in work. It has also made sure it has the right vehicles, such as 4x4’s, so that work to repair leaks and bursts can continue even in this terrible weather.
And the company is advising homeowners to take action now, as the cold could and has led to pipes inside the home being damaged, causing flooding and sometimes costly damage. It’s important for customers to understand how they can look after their own pipework, as Jodie explains:
“There’s still time to get your home ready for the cold and it’s such an easy and inexpensive job. 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. We want our customers to avoid what could be a lot of heartache and expense if their home is affected by burst pipes.“
Colder weather can wreak havoc on household water pipes. 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 when the temperatures drop. I have a few top tips to help our customers make sure they’re well prepared for the cold weather ahead.”
Jodie’s top tips for protecting your household pipes against the frost:
• Wrap all pipework, fittings and storage tanks in unheated areas of your home (such as lofts, roofs, outbuildings and garages) with insulation. It’s very important that there are no gaps in the insulation, even where the pipes bend, to make sure the cold is kept out.
• It’s best to use good quality waterproof foam lagging which can be found at your local DIY store.
• If you have outside taps, either insulate them or drain them down to the pipework that links to the tap.
• Don’t worry too much about the underground water pipes which lead to your home. These should be buried deep enough to protect them from the frost.
• If you’re concerned about your own DIY abilities, a registered plumber can check your household pipes to make sure they’re properly lagged and fill in any gaps. Severn Trent supports WaterSafe who have a list of approved plumbers at WaterSafe.org.uk.
• As temperatures drop, it’s worth making sure your heating comes on at regular intervals, even if you’re out, to maintain some warmth around your property.
• If you’ll be away from home for a few days it’s best to turn off your water at the stop tap so that if a pipe does freeze or burst while you’re away any damage will be limited.
• Make sure that you and other members of your household know where your stop tap is located so that it can be reached quickly in an emergency, and most importantly, check that it’s working properly. Stop taps are usually located under the kitchen sink, in the garage or in a ground floor utility room or bathroom, near to where the water supply pipe first enters your home. A stop tap isn’t used very often and finding that it’s stuck or broken when you’ve had a burst will only complicate the problem. More information and a ‘how to’ video is available at www.stwater.co.uk/winter.
• If you do have a problem with your water supply this winter, with either low pressure or no water coming out of your taps, first check to see if your neighbours are having similar trouble. This will help establish if the issue is on Severn Trent’s network or on your own supply pipe. If your neighbours’ water supply is normal it is likely that you will need to call a plumber. If more than one household is affected you’ll need to ring Severn Trent’s 24 hour emergency number to report the problem - 0800 783 4444.
• If you have more questions, or are concerned that you may have a frozen pipe, you can find more information by visiting stwater.co.uk/winter.