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I have got a burst pipe

Winter proof your home. And beat the freeze.


It’s quick. It’s easy. And it could help you protect your personal property and possessions.

Imagine the damage and distress to your daily life if the pipes in your home were to freeze and burst this winter. Help protect your home by following this simple pipe check:

Step 1. Check that your pipes have been lagged

Step 2. Check all lagging is securely fitted

Simple tips to protect your pipes this winter

Water, it’s a big part of our daily routine, and it only takes one big freeze to strike to cause a burst pipe, loss of water- and potentially costly repairs. That’s why we’ve put together some useful information to help you prepare your home for the winter weather including: simple ways to protect your pipes, guidance on pipework responsibilities; Free Stop Valve Tag; Winter Advice for Farmers; Advice for Business Customers; and four short videos which give advice on how to locate your stop valve, insulation, and what to do if a pipe freezes or pipe bursts.

All pipework within your home or business boundary is your responsibility, and spending a little time on simple frost protection now could help you avoid trouble and expense this winter. Click here to find out about your pipework responsibilities.

Avoiding Frozen Pipes
  • Insulate water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like lofts, roof spaces, garages and outbuildings. This is also applicable to non domestic premises and holiday homes likely to be unoccupied and unheated for prolonged periods of time.
  • Insulation is essential in helping to prevent water in pipes from freezing. It is also important to ensure there are no gaps in the insulation at bends, valves or fittings.
  • Lagging material for pipes can be purchased in DIY/Plumbing stores. It should be noted that even with lagging, extreme weather conditions can result in water in pipes freezing. Without lagging however the potential for this to happen is greatly increased.
  • Fix dripping taps – a small trickle of water can freeze and completely block the pipe.
  • Find your internal stop tap/valve. It is usually but not always located under your kitchen sink and normally closes by turning clockwise. You may want to test it is working.
  • Service your boiler regularly.
  • Make sure doors and windows from unheated parts of your property are kept closed and minimise any draughts from outside.
  • If you have tanks or pipes in the roof space, allow some warm air to circulate by opening the trap door (this should be a temporary measure ONLY, as it will cause condensation - tanks and pipes should be insulated).
  • Leave the heating on low when you are away. Leave a key with a neighbour, friend or family member who can check the house regularly.
  • Write down the contact details of a qualified plumber.
  • If a property is not in use or occupied for a prolonged period of time it is advisable to turn the water supply off at the stop tap and even consider draining down the system to lessen the possibility of burst pipes going undetected causing property damage and the waste of water.
Free Stop Valve Tag

Think ahead: Why not contact us to get a Stop Valve Tag? We have produced a bright tag for customers to loop around the stop valve in their premises. This will ensure they are aware of the location of their stop valve and it will be easily identifiable in the event of a burst pipe.

A stop valve is used to shut off the flow of water in a pipe. Stop valve tags are available free to customers by phoning us on 03457 440088 or emailing waterline[AT]niwater[DOT]com

Dealing with Frozen Pipes
  • Turn off the water supply at the stop tap/valve.
  • Thaw along the pipe, starting from the end nearest the tap.
  • Don’t use a blow lamp or naked flame.
  • Put hot water bottles or a thick cloth soaked in hot water over the frozen pipe or use a hair dryer at its lowest setting to thaw pipes. Be careful not to warm them too quickly.
  • Don’t leave taps dripping or running. The water may not flush down the plug hole if the pipes below are frozen.
If a Pipe Bursts
  • Turn off the stop tap/valve.
  • Try to block escaping water with thick cloth like towels.
  • Turn on all taps to reduce flooding.
  • Call a qualified plumber. NI Water recommends you use an Approved Plumbing Contractor; refer to or by telephoning the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF) during normal office hours on 0345 224 0391.
  • Don’t forget to turn off taps once the problem is fixed to avoid further flooding.

If you have checked the pipes on your property and they are not burst or frozen, and you still have no water supply, contact NI Water on 03457 440088.

Email: waterline[AT]niwater[DOT]com
Waterline: 03457 440088
Text Phone: 03457 023206

Advice video on how to Protect your Pipes this winter

Related information

Beat the Freeze
Download PDF – 1.21 MB

Winter Proof Your Home
Download PDF – 712 kB

Winter Proof Your Farm
Download PDF – 140 kB

Winter Proof Your Business
Download PDF – 139 kB

Warm Homes Scheme
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Tel: +44 (0)3457 440088 | Fax: +44 (0)2890354798.

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