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how to save water

How to protect your pipes

Winter films

Frozen Pipes can flood homes - Insulate your pipes properly this winter

We have a series of films to provide helpful advice on how to locate your stop valve, insulate your pipes and what to do if you have a frozen or burst pipe.

How to locate your stop valve


  1. Your stop valve controls the water supply entering your home. You often find this under your kitchen sink or sometimes it can be located elsewhere depending on where the service point enters your property. It normally closes by turning clockwise.
  2. We recommend that you check valves every few months to ensure that they can be opened and closed easily.
  3. Your stopcock is different from your stop valve. It’s located outside your property normally at your property boundary. The stopcock is where we would access your water supply to carry out any essential work or checks.
  4. Now that you know where to find your stop valve, why not contact us to get one of our free quick reminder stickers for you to write on the name and telephone number of a licensed plumber in case of any emergency.

Insulation

  1. Insulating your loft - or topping up any insulation you already have - will help to heat your home more efficiently, save energy and reduce your energy bills.
  2. Easy steps you can take to help prevent pipes freezing in winter are insulating the water pipes and the water tank. If you have toilet cisterns, water tanks or pipes in exposed places or unheated out-buildings, make sure you insulate them. Better still, if not in use, drain them for winter.

If a pipe freezes

  1. Find the stop valve and turn it off immediately.
  2. A pipe freezing is different from a pipe bursting. You should open all cold taps to drain the system, but never turn on the hot taps. Your hot water cylinder may collapse if the pipes leading to it are frozen.
  3. Call a registered plumber if you are in any doubt about what to do.

thawing out your pipes...

  1. When thawing out pipes never attempt to thaw out frozen pipes by switching on your immersion heater or central heating boiler.
  2. Instead, check for leaking joints or bursts in the pipes instead.
  3. Then gently heat any frozen sections with a hairdryer or a heated cloth wrapped around the pipe. Never apply a direct flame.

If a pipe bursts

  1. If a pipe bursts in your home find the stop valve and turn it off immediately.
  2. Then switch off your immersion heater and central heating boiler.
  3. A pipe bursting is different to a pipe freezing. You should open all hot and cold taps to drain them of any remaining water to minimise the damage.
  4. Let any solid fuel fires die down. You should also warn your neighbours so they can take steps to reduce the chance of any damage to their homes.
  5. Switch off your electricity supply at the mains if there’s any chance that water could come into contact with electrical wiring or fittings.
  6. If you live in a flat or terraced house, you may have a shared water supply. Make sure you can get to the stop cock; this is normally located where the water supply enters the building.
  7. Then check with your neighbours that turning off the water has not affected their supply.
  8. 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.
  9. Call a registered plumber if you are in any doubt about what to do.

repairing a burst pipe...

  1. You can make a temporary repair to a burst pipe by binding it tightly with a cloth or tape.
  2. Replace this as soon as possible by a permanent repair, carried out by a qualified and registered plumber.

What makes pipes burst...

Get more information

For further information click on the useful links on the top right hand side of this page to view/download our winter materials. Alternatively you can request a copy of our winter leaflet or stop valve tag by calling 03457 440088 or emailing waterline[AT]niwater[DOT]com

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