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Don’t Wait. Insulate!

03 February 2012 14:29

As the current cold snap continues, NI Water is reminding customers to act now and lag their pipes. It is easy to believe winter is over and the urgency to protect your home is gone, however if temperatures suddenly drop, you could find yourself dealing with the heartache of a burst water pipe.

NI Water is keen to provide advice and information to customers on how to protect their property and help them identify the pipework they are responsible for.

Charlie Gallagher, Head of Water Supply at NI Water explained:

“Dealing with the aftermath of a burst pipe in a home can be devastating. Water can cause serious damage to furniture and carpets and often treasured possessions have to be thrown away.

“NI Water learnt some important lessons from last year’s bitterly cold winter, and has spent time upgrading communications systems including the website and Waterline facilities. Hopefully this will make it easier for customers to contact us and access vital information when it is needed.

“However, we cannot do it on our own. We all have a role to play to reduce the risk of disruption to water supplies. Simple measures such as lagging pipes, knowing where your stop valve is and having the number of a plumber to hand can all make a huge difference.”

In January 2011 a single burst pipe in a vacant business property lost over 30 million litres of water. The water lost in this one leak was enough to:

Ӣ Supply a family of 4 for 137 years
Ӣ Fill 15 million kettles
Ӣ Make 120 million cups of tea
Ӣ You could have 375,000 baths
Ӣ You could have 850,000 showers
Ӣ Flush a toilet nearly 3,000,000 times

NI Water has produced a handy stop valve tag to encourage customers to locate their valve in the event of a burst pipe. Customers can obtain a free tag by phoning our Waterline number on 08457 440088, emailing or contacting us through Facebook.

We also have a Customer Care Register which is designed to meet the needs of those requiring extra help or support from the organisation. Joining is simple, customers can phone the Waterline number or obtain further information by visiting

NI Water’s top tips for avoiding frozen pipes include:

1.Insulate water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like lofts, garages and outbuildings;
2.Fix dripping taps – a gentle trickle of water can freeze and completely block the pipe;
3.Keep your boiler well serviced to ensure your house is heated;
4.If you are away from home during the winter period, open the trap door into the roof space to allow some of the warm air to circulate;
5.If you are away from home you could leave a key with someone who can check the house regularly
6.Know where your stop valve is in the case of an emergency - it is normally situated under the kitchen sink;
7. DO NOT run your tap to avoid a frozen pipe, a running tap can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water per day;
8.Write down the contact details of a registered plumber in case a pipe does burst.

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