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Be prepared for Storm Doris

Billed as the worst storm this winter, Doris is heading our way. With the MET Office issuing weather warnings for high winds, snow and potential flooding on Thursday, the CIPHE has the following tips to keep you safe in your home.

Flooding advice:

  • If you have been advised it is safe to stay in your home, fill up bottles, pots and pans, the bath and any other suitable containers with clean water prior to flooding.  Conserve clean water by flushing WCs with rainwater (using a suitable container).
  • Isolate any electricity to the property, this will turn your boiler off. If the boiler comes in contact with floodwater it will need to be checked by a Gas Safe/ OFTEC / HETAS registered service engineer. If any electrical components within the boiler have been submerged they will probably need replacing.
  • The mains water may be dirty when your water is switched back on. We recommend having your plumbing system flushed out to eradicate any debris and any possible contaminants. Additionally your boiler’s built-in filter may require cleaning by a service engineer.
  • If you are concerned that there has been further contamination of your system, then a professional engineer should disinfect the system.
  • Don’t forget to turn off your taps and water outlets if you have no water supply! This will prevent the possible back siphonage of contaminated flood water into your plumbing system.


Check out the CIPHE’s flooding advice page for more helpful tips and information.

Frozen or burst pipes:
Scotland is set to receive heavy snow. Freezing temperatures can cause chaos for plumbing systems. Here’s the CIPHE’s top tips:

  • Don’t panic. If you keep your head you can minimise the damage before your plumber arrives.
  • In both cases, the first thing you need to do is turn off the mains water at the stop valve (or stop cock) which is normally found under the kitchen sink. If you can’t find one in your home, there should be one under a cover in your garden or path.
  • If the pipe is burst and the flow of water isn’t immediately controlled by turning off the stop valve, then open all cold taps to drain down the system. You can also flush the WC.
  • Turn off the central heating system or allow the fire to die out if it uses solid fuel. Do not open the hot taps. Switch off any electric emersion heaters.
  • If your frozen pipe has not split you can attempt to gently thaw it out. Using hot water bottles, start at the end nearest the tap and work your way along. Try not to thaw it too quickly just in case there are any unseen cracks in the pipe.
  • Make sure you use a professional plumber to fix any burst or damaged pipework.


Check out the CIPHE’s plumbing emergency page for more information.

And if you need to find a professional plumbing or heating engineer, use our find a plumber online tool.