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Be prepared for winter

At Scottish Water, we are always working so the water cycle never stops. We believe the best way to prevent frozen or burst pipes is to be prepared during cold weather. Our winter information gives you helpful advice on how to heat, insulate and protect your home, so we can all play our part to keep the water cycle running smoothly. 

Read on for our tips on looking after your pipes in winter:

6 degrees and milder

  • Leave your heating on, using a low setting
  • If you live in a flat, leave the heating on low in rooms where the mains pipe supplies neighbouring flats
  • When you're going away then make sure you have someone who can regularly check for any problems
  • Make sure neighbours have a key for your home (or contact details for someone who does) in case of an emergency
  • If your property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system - a licensed plumber should be able to give you advice about this - visit
  • Now is a good time to locate your stop valve in your home
  • You may want to consider fitting an automatic stop valve - they can reduce damage to your property from burst internal pipes

1C to 5C

  • Your water tank should be fitted with an insulation jacket or alternatively, the top and sides of the tank can be wrapped with suitable insulation material. Don't place loft insulation under the tank, as this stops heat from the rooms below helping to keep the tank warm
  • Toilet cisterns, water tanks or pipes in exposed places or unheated outbuildings, should be insulated. Better still drain them for winter if you're not using them
  • Watch our film on insulating your pipes
  • Buy good quality insulation - the thinner the pipe the thicker the insulation must be. 15mm or 1/2" pipes need insulation which is 25mm thick, 28mm or 1" pipe needs insulation which is at least 19mm thick

0 degrees and under

  • 0oC: Pipes are now liable to freeze
  • Dripping water increases the risk of freezing, so have any leaks at taps or valves repaired as soon as you discover them
  • Watch our film on what to do if a pipe freezes
  • Cold draughts also increase your heating bills and can cause frozen pipework
  • Look out for your neighbours, especially the frail, elderly and vulnerable
  • Watch our film on what to do if a pipe bursts


Read more tips in our Protect your pipes leaflet.