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Frozen or burst pipes - what do I need to know and what should I do?

Preventing burst and frozen pipes - what to do if they occur and how to help stop them happening

Winter is here so make sure your home is winter ready and prepared for some cold weather.
Sub-zero temperatures could spell disaster, cold snaps could freeze your pipes leaving you and your family without water and heat.


Spot the potential problem areas – Keep an eye out for any pipework and taps that might be exposed to freezing temperatures.

Protect your pipes and taps - After identifying the pipes and taps most at risk, wrap them in lagging. Cut a piece of foam insulation to length and clip it on.

Keep your central heating ticking over - Heating a home is expensive, but so is a burst pipe. If you can, leave the heating on constantly at a low temperature. If severe weather is forecast, set the heating to your usual level day and night.

Get to know your stop tap or SureStop - If the worst happens and your pipes freeze and then burst, shutting off the stop tap / SureStop is the first thing you'll need to do.  In most homes, you'll find it under the kitchen sink, but it could be located in a cellar, garage or outbuilding. Label it once you've found it and check it works regularly, let everyone who lives in your home know where it is too.  Make sure the tap turns freely and shuts off fully.

For more information visit your water providers website.

If you have a burst pipe 

  • Turn off the main stop tap or SureStop immediately.
  • Turn on all the cold water taps. When the water stops running, turn all the taps off.
  • Turn off the central heating, boiler and immersion heater.
  • If electrics are getting wet, do not touch them. Turn off the electricity at the fuse box.
  • If the hot water system is frozen, turn off the water heater as well.
  • Clear the excess water away as soon as you can to prevent further damage.
  • Contact OneCALL 0345 8 507 507

If the burst is in the street, contact your local water authority and keep away from the affected area.

If you suspect frozen pipes 

  • Don't use central heating to thaw it out.
  • Turn off your stop tap
  • Check for dripping water and split pipes.
  • If there aren't any leaks, turn your stop tap back on and open a tap inside the house.
  • Use a hairdryer to gently melt the ice in the direction of the flow of water; never use a naked flame.

If you are not sure what to do, phone OneCALL 0345 8 507 507



gas ; frozen ; boiler ; unfreeze pipe