Protect Property and Pipes before Difficult Winter

08 October 2020
Householders and businesses across Scotland are being urged to take action this autumn to ensure water pipes on their property are protected ahead of winter.

Scottish Water has issued a reminder that preparing now will help prevent burst pipes and flooding in freezing temperatures and reduce the risk of damage to properties and contents during what for many could be a challenging winter. 

We are advising anyone with a home, business premises, or holiday home to take action to heat, insulate and protect their properties, whether the property is old or new, ahead of any cold weather.
Insulated pipe for winter

Take Action

Prepare your property now to avoid burts and flooding over the freezing winter months.

Reduce Risk

In addition to potentially saving thousands of pounds worth of damage, taking such action will minimise the risk of disruption to the public water supply and Scottish Water’s core service to customers and ensure householders stay healthy, hydrated, and hygienic, as they follow Covid guidelines.

“Protecting internal water pipes has always been important. It’s now more important than ever to ensure we are all prepared for whatever winter weather we get.”

Peter Farrer
Chief Operating Officer, Scottish Water
The Association of British Insurers estimates that the cost of repairing a burst pipe and replacing or repairing damaged property as a result of a burst is about £10,000 based on the average cost of claims.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “With autumn now here, it’s the ideal time to prepare for the possibility of severe weather and the potential impact that has on property. Taking action now can prevent the misery of damage to pipes and property in the months to come.

“This winter will be difficult enough due to the Covid pandemic and restrictions that we all face and I would urge customers not to make it any more difficult for themselves and others by failing to protect their pipes. 

“By taking steps to heat, insulate, and protect properties, customers can avoid the considerable disruption caused by frozen or burst pipes. And we can all do our bit to protect the water supply and enable everyone to stay healthy, hydrated, and hygienic at this challenging time. 

“Protecting internal water pipes has always been important. It’s now more important than ever and we want to work with our customers, and for them to work with us, to ensure we are all prepared for whatever winter weather we get.”

Key Advice

Heat: Warmth offers the best protection against frozen pipes, so when temperatures are low leave your heating on a low setting, or set it to come on a couple of times a day. 

Insulate: Pipes don’t like the cold – whether they are outdoor or indoor, metal or plastic, new or old. Making sure pipes and water tanks are properly insulated is one of the simplest, and cheapest, things which can be done to help protect properties from the cold. Make sure that there are no gaps at bends, valves or fitting, and that you use a suitable insulation material. 

Protect: If you are going away (subject to Covid restrictions), make sure you have someone who can check regularly for any problems. Dripping water increases the risk of freezing, so have any drips or leaks at taps or valves repaired as soon as you discover them, and reduce draughts by fitting draught excluders to doors and windows.

House with Icicles for Winter Message

Met Office advises people to prepare for winter

Icicles for winter message

VisitScotland advice is to check pipes before a winter trip

Be Prepared

Even when your home or property is winter-ready sometimes damages can happen, so make sure you have adequate buildings and content insurance.

If your home or property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system. A licensed plumber will be able to give advice about this.

“Taking some time now to check water pipes and water tanks, while temperatures are still quite mild, will help protect pipes from bursting or freezing.”

Will Lang
Head of Civil Contingencies, Met Office

Other important winter advice includes tips on finding and using your stop valve, keeping a small emergency pack handy, and be a good neighbour and keep an eye out for your neighbours including the elderly and those who might need additional support.

Head of Civil Contingencies at the Met Office, Will Lang, said: “As we approach the colder autumn and winter months, now is the time to think about preparing our homes, properties, and businesses for the potential impacts of cold weather.
“Although it is too early to tell what weather this winter will bring, taking some time now to check water pipes and water tanks, while temperatures are still quite mild, will help protect pipes from bursting or freezing – helping you avoid costly repairs and inconveniences.”

Scottish Water is also urging holiday homeowners, whose properties will be occupied by visitors and tourists, to be prepared.

Riddell Graham, Director of Industry and Destination Development at VisitScotland, said: “As Scottish tourism looks to extend and boost the visitor season in the winter months in response to the devastating impact of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that holiday home-owners ensure they are prepared for sudden changes in temperature. 

“Simply checking your pipes at your properties and ensuring they are ready for the approaching cold weather will help prevent further hardship during this uncertain and challenging time for the industry.”


Keep Up-to-Date

Follow us: Twitter @scottish_water and Facebook  
and use hashtag #SWwinter

Sign up: text 'Update' with your postcode to 82228  to receive free texts (SMS)* and keep up-to-date about our work or service updates, such as having no water supply, in your area.


* For more info and T&Cs visit