Protect your pipes before cold weather this winter
SCOTTISH Water and STV weather forecaster Sean Batty are urging homeowners and businesses to make sure they are winter-ready by protecting properties against freezing temperatures.
The water cycle can be kept running this winter by following a simple code to protect pipes, and prevent them becoming frozen during any cold spells.
Scottish Water’s winter campaign is launched today and focuses on reminding property owners that water pipes can be at risk if the temperature falls below freezing. A three-step guide can prevent the misery, inconvenience and cost of frozen pipes.
The Scottish Water Winter Code advises anyone with a home, holiday home or business premises to take action to heat, insulate and protect their properties, whether the property is old or new, ahead of any cold weather.
The campaign is again supported by weather presenter Sean Batty who said: ‘Recent experience tells us that we must be prepared for all the elements that can be thrown at us during the winter months. It’s important that sensible and simple actions are taken to protect our homes and businesses against Mother Nature.
‘The winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11 were characterised by cold, snowy conditions, which brought numerous problems across the country. Since then, we have avoided really cold conditions but instead we’ve had milder and stormier weather which, of course, brings its own issues.
‘In our most recent winters, we’ve had more storm and flood damage as opposed to ice and snow. From summer 2016 to summer 2017 only 131 weather warnings in total were issued by the Met Office for Scotland, but in the previous year there were 338 issued over the same period.
‘In 2016/17 there were six amber warnings issued compared to 34 in 2015/16. So, in the last eight years we’ve had some quiet years, severe cold and ice and severe storms and floods.’
Scottish Water’s Chief Operating Officer Peter Farrer, said: ‘Anyone who has returned to their house or work to find everything ankle deep in freezing water with carpets, furniture and equipment all ruined, will know only too well of the misery a burst pipe in winter can cause.
‘But by taking action to heat, insulate and protect properties, customers can avoid the considerable headache and heartache caused by burst pipes. We want to work with our customers to ensure we are all prepared for whatever winter weather we get.
‘Preventing frozen pipes also means we all play a part in ensuring the water cycle never stops. Water is a precious resource and Scottish Water puts a lot of work into keeping it that way. Water pouring straight back into the drains as a result of a burst pipe that could have been prevented costs us all money.’
The key advice in our winter code is: 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, 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. If the property is going to be vacant over winter, turn off the water supply and drain the system.
Even when your home or property is winter ready sometimes damages can happen, so make sure you have adequate buildings and contents insurance.
As property owners prepare to close up their cottages and cabins for winter, Scottish Water is also urging holiday home owners to follow the winter code. 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.
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.
VisitScotland is backing Scottish
Water’s advice to holiday home owners.
Riddell Graham, director of partnerships for VisitScotland, said: ‘With its beautiful landscapes, worldclass attractions and wide array of events throughout the year, Scotland is a fantastic holiday destination regardless of the season. It is imperative that visitors stay in quality accommodation which meets their requirements.
‘Therefore, during the colder months, holiday home owners must be prepared for a sudden change in temperature to help prevent any unwelcome surprises when visitors arrive at their properties. Scotland in winter is a wonderful time of year and we want everyone to be able to experience it in the best way possible. Property owners need to do what they can to not only meet visitor expectations, but exceed them.’
Scottish Water is also offering a free quick reminder stop valve sticker, where you can write the name and contact number of your local licensed plumber so that it is handy in case of an emergency.
As one of the largest businesses in Scotland, Scottish Water is also taking steps across its operation to ensure it is well equipped to continue delivering the best service it can in the event of a severe winter. Its employees work around the clock to maintain drinking water supplies to 2.5 million households and 156,000 business premises.
Visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/winter for more winter information, advice and films.
For the free stop valve sticker : Email customermarketing@ scottishwater.co.uk, or write to Customer Marketing, Free Stop Valve Sticker, PO Box 8855, Edinburgh EH10 6YQ
Follow Scottish Water on Twitter @scottish_water and Facebook facebook.com/scottishwater and use hashtag #SWwinter
Customers can also sign up to receive free texts (SMS)* to keep up to date about its work or service updates, such as having no water supply, in your area – please text ‘Update’ with your postcode to 82228. * For more info and T&Cs visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/textterms.