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Advice from Severn Trent as temperatures drop

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

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A WATER company is taking on extra resources ahead of winter weather.

Severn Trent Water is gearing up for a busy cold season by preparing for months of frozen ground, which can cause leaks and burst water pipes.

The company is also advising customers on who to look after their water pipes.

Rick Newton has 18 years experience repairing leaks for Severn Trent in the Derbyshire area.

He said: "Colder weather can wreak havoc on household water pipes and many of our customers may not realise that Severn Trent is only responsible for the water mains and service pipes in the public highway.

"Anything inside the property boundary is the responsibility of the homeowner.

"When water freezes within a pipe it expands, putting more pressure on the pipes and joints, often causing pipes to split or joints to pull apart.

"Taking steps now to make sure the pipework leading to your home and within your property is protected can help avoid problems with frozen pipes once the temperatures drop.

"I have a few top tips to help our customers make sure they’re well prepared for the cold weather ahead."

  Rick’s top tips for protecting your household pipes against the frost: 

·     Wrap all pipework, fittings and storage tanks in unheated areas of your home (such as lofts, roofs, outbuildings and garages) with insulation. It’s very important that there are no gaps in the insulation, even where the pipes bend, to make sure the cold is kept out.  

·     It’s best to use good quality waterproof foam lagging which can be found at your local DIY store.  

 ·     If you have outside taps, either insulate them or drain them down to the pipework that links to the tap.

  ·     Don’t worry too much about the underground water pipes which lead to your home. These should be buried deep enough to protect them from the frost. 

 ·     If you’re concerned about your own DIY abilities, a registered plumber can check your household pipes to make sure they’re properly lagged and fill in any gaps. Severn Trent has a list of approved plumbers at www.stwater.co.uk/find-a-plumber.

·     As temperatures drop, it’s worth making sure your heating comes on at regular intervals, even if you’re out, to maintain some warmth around your property.  

 ·     If you’ll be away from home for a few days it’s best to turn off your water at the stop tap so that if a pipe does freeze or burst while you’re away any damage will be limited.  

 ·     Make sure that you and other members of your household know where your stop tap is located so that it can be reached quickly in an emergency, and most importantly, check that it’s working properly. Stop taps are usually located under the kitchen sink, in the garage or in a ground floor utility room or bathroom, near to where the water supply pipe first enters your home. A stop tap isn’t used very often and finding that it’s stuck or broken when you’ve had a burst will only complicate the problem.

More information and a ‘how to’ video is available at www.stwater.co.uk/winter.

 ·     If you do have a problem with your water supply this winter, with either low pressure or no water coming out of your taps, first check to see if your neighbours are having similar trouble. This will help establish if the issue is on Severn Trent’s network or on your own supply pipe. If your neighbours’ water supply is normal it is likely that you will need to call a plumber. If more than one household is affected you’ll need to ring Severn Trent’s 24 hour emergency number to report the problem - 0800 783 4444.  

·     If you have more questions, or are concerned that you may have a frozen pipe, you can find more information by visiting www.stwater.co.uk/winter.

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