If a pipe freezes

Turn off the stop valve immediately and open all COLD taps to drain the system, but NEVER turn on the hot taps – if you have a hot water cylinder it may collapse if the pipes leading to it are frozen.

Call a licensed plumber if you are in any doubt about what to do.

Thawing out your pipes

Never attempt to thaw out frozen pipes by switching on your immersion heater or central heating boiler. Instead, check for leaking joints or bursts in the pipes.  If it is safe to do so, then gently heat any frozen sections with a heated cloth wrapped around the pipe. Never apply a direct flame.

Winter advice videos

Watch our videos for advice on insulation, how to find your stop valve and what to do if your pipe bursts or freezes.

Watch here

If a pipe bursts

Locate the stop valve which controls the water supply entering your home and turn it off immediately. The location of the stop valve will vary, but the most common locations are under a sink (kitchen or utility room), in a garage or close to the hot water system (wherever the mains supply enters your house).

This normally closes by turning clockwise. Then switch off your immersion heater and central heating boiler and let any solid fuel fires die down. Open all hot and cold taps to drain them of any remaining water to minimise the damage. 

Switch off your electricity supply at the mains if there’s any chance that water could come into contact with electrical wiring or fittings. Water and electricity can be a deadly combination, so if you are in any doubt about what to do in this case, don’t take a risk - call a qualified electrician.

If you live in a flat, terraced or semi-detached home, you may have a shared water supply. Make sure you can get to the stop valve; this is normally located where the water supply enters the building. Then check with your neighbours that turning off the water has not affected their supply. Once repaired, it’s important to remember to make sure your hot water system is refilled BEFORE you re-light your boiler or switch on the immersion heater.

Repairing a burst pipe

Temporary repairs to burst pipes can sometimes be done using repair putty or a pipe repair clamp, which can be bought from most DIY outlets. However, any temporary repair needs to be replaced as soon as possible by a permanent repair. We recommend this be carried out by a licensed plumber.