With the winter now here, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s is urging customers in Herefordshire to make sure that the water pipes in their homes are protected to avoid the disruption and expense frozen pipes can cause. The company, through its ‘Wrap up Wales’ campaign is 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 and outhouses. These expand when it freezes, causing a burst when they thaw and a repair is then urgently needed.
Recent research by Consumer Council for Water found that only 46 per cent of water customers took steps to avoid frozen pipes. It also found that people aged 24 to 35 are most at risk of not being properly prepared.
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. The average repair cost for damage caused by these bursts in that period averaged up to £7,000.
Welsh Water’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Perry said: “We always see an increase in calls in the winter regarding frozen pipes so now is the time to take action before the really cold weather hits. And with Christmas just around the corner, I’m sure the last thing any of our customers will want is to be without tap water due to frozen pipes”.
Problems with pipes in homes are the responsibility of the home owner or landlord so 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 Christmas or winter period.
Peter Perry added: “If you’re planning to visit family or friends and your home will be empty over the winter you need to be sure that exposed water pipes are wrapped in insulation to protect them. Otherwise they could burst and you won’t know until you return home.
“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 help us Wrap up Wales and take action now to prevent a problem that can cause a tremendous amount of inconvenience and expense – at the time of the year when you’d least want to face it.”
More information on how to prevent pipes freezing can be found on the company’s website where customers can also complete a free winter home survey to check how prepared their home is for winter www.dwrcymru.com There is also an opportunity to apply for one of the 1,000 free lagging kits we are giving away.
Diane McCrea, chair of the Consumer Council for Water’s Wales Committee, said: “We know from our research that young people are most at risk of not taking steps to protect water pipes from freezing temperatures. But the consequences of not taking action can be devastating.”
“Even if you live in a rented property it’s important to check the pipes have been lagged because a burst pipe could end up ruining your possessions and wrecking your Christmas and New Year celebrations.”