Protect your pipes this winter

With the arrival of lower temperatures and snow across Scotland, Scottish Water is reminding householders and businesses to ensure that their properties are protected and prepared for the winter.

Communities throughout the country are being urged to follow Scottish Water’s winter code.

This is a set of simple steps to protect your pipes, be prepared and heat, insulate and protect your property - whether it’s your home, a holiday home or business premises.

Scottish Water’s winter campaign is advising people what steps to take to help prevent a burst or frozen pipe, how to locate their stop valve, what to do in an emergency and how Scottish Water can help.

Customers are being advised to follow Scottish Water’s winter code:

- Heat, insulate and protect your pipes.

- Leave your heating on at a low setting.

- If you are going away then make sure you have someone who can regularly check your property for any problems and have details of how to contact you in an emergency.

- If your property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system. A licensed plumber should be able to advise you about this.

- Keep your insurance documents somewhere secure and water-tight so you can access them easily if needed.

- Locate your stop valve.

- Keep a note of the telephone number of a licensed plumber.

- Keep a note of the Scottish Water Customer Helpline number – 0845 601 8855.

- Be a good neighbour and keep an eye out for your neighbours, especially the frail and elderly or disabled.

Scottish Water is also implementing various initiatives to ensure it is well equipped to continue to deliver the best service it can in the event of a severe winter.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Customer Service Delivery Director, said: “Customers who take action now to heat, insulate and protect their properties can avoid considerable headache and heartache.

“Our winter campaign aims to inform our customers, homeowners and businesses about the importance of acting now to protect their pipes to avoid the hardships that so many experienced two winters ago. Unfortunately, many customers found out in the winter of 2010-11 that the real problems start when temperatures begin to rise again after such a cold snap. This can lead to pipes expanding and bursting.

“Very often people think it won’t happen to them, but there are few things more upsetting than coming home or into work to find everything ankle deep in freezing water and your carpets, furniture and equipment all ruined because of a burst pipe.

“So, while there’s no telling whether the extreme conditions could be repeated this year, it is sensible for customers to start thinking about protecting their pipes now and make sure they are prepared.

“The message is very much that we want to work with our customers to ensure we are all prepared.”

This year, Scottish Water has again joined forces with the Scottish Government’s Ready for Winter? Campaign and British Red Cross – as well as partnering with a range of bodies such as landlord and housing associations and plumbers’ federation SNIPEF - to help spread our message across Scotland.

While homeowners represent the biggest target audience, the campaign also focuses on the need for businesses, landlords and holiday home owners to safeguard their properties.

Mr Farrer added: “Businesses which take action now to heat, insulate and protect their properties overnight, over the weekend and particularly during the festive period can avoid the potentially costly headache of finding their premises ankle deep in water and stock, carpets and equipment ruined because of a burst pipe.”

CBI Scotland’s director Iain McMillan echoed Scottish Water’s advice and said: “Businesses will want to do all they can to minimise the risk of damage to their premises this winter. By following Scottish Water’s advice, firms can be sure that they are well prepared for the worst of the season’s weather and are able to get on with ‘business as usual’.”