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Arctic blast to cause burst pipe misery

Parts of the UK are set to be hit by freezing temperatures and snow as a ‘polar maritime air mass’ sweeps across the nation. With snow setting in across Scotland and Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK will be hit by wintry weather and a sharp dip in temperatures. The cold snap signals plumbing misery for many, with frozen and burst pipes heading up the league of household disasters.

Paul Harmer, Lead Technical Consultant for the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) offers the following advice:

  • In very cold weather take special care to prevent water pipes becoming frozen by ensuring that all exposed pipes and storage systems are properly insulated, particularly in the roof space or attic.
  • If you have a storage cistern in the roof space it will be sensible to open the loft hatch to allow some heat from the house to rise, this will help keep the cistern from freezing.
  • Make sure you know the location of, and have labeled, the stop-valve on the incoming water supply main (otherwise known as a stop-cock). It could save thousands of pounds of damage in the case of a burst pipe.
  • If you are going away on a winter’s holiday, leave the thermostat set low (at least 5oC) to help prevent pipes from freezing; and do check your insurance policy to see if you have to comply with any directives.


Paul Harmer added: “If the worst should happen, the important thing is to stop water running past the point of the leak by turning off the water supply via the stop-valve; you’ll then buy yourself time to call in a professional.”

You can find out more about dealing with plumbing emergencies at

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