Tips on avoiding burst pipes this winter

By Barrie Hudson - 28 November 2023


Thames Water is helping customers prepare for winter.

The firm is sharing simple advice at

Thames Water says that with winter having arrived, it is important to make sure homes are ready for colder and wetter conditions. It offers a list of handy hacks to help prevent customers experiencing costly repair bills.

According to the company, the average cost to repair a leaking pipe in the UK is £330.

Sarah Holland, director of operations service centre at Thames Water, said: “As the weather starts to get colder, there are a lot of small things we can all do to help keep our homes warm and protect them from damage. 

"The last thing anyone wants this Christmas is a burst water pipe in their home. Our easy and practical winter readiness tips are free or cost very little but can save a lot in the long run.”

The company has emailed customers its warming list of tricks to beat the winter freeze, and will be posting advice on its social channels throughout the winter period. 

Cold temperatures can lead to water freezing and expand, which can cause cracks and splits to appear in pipes. 

Leaks typically appear as the ice thaws and water finds the cracks to escape. Uninsulated pipes leading to outside taps, next to cold internal walls and in unheated lofts and garages, are particularly at risk of this occurring. 

Burst pipes on private property are the responsibility of homeowners, so having the number of a qualified emergency plumber to hand and ensuring home insurance covers leaking pipes are sensible steps to mitigate potential damage.

Thames Water advises:

- It usually costs around £1.75 a metre to insulate a pipe – so about £20 to insulate a typical household’s internal pipework. 

- Remember to insulate outdoor and garden pipes too.

- It is essential to know where your stop tap is as it can limit property damage if a pipe bursts/leaks.

- Remember to bleed radiators. Trapped air makes your radiators less efficient. Use a radiator key (about £1 from a DIY shop) to let air out and keep radiators warm.

- Fix leaks: If you’re on a meter, fixing dripping taps and leaky toilets could save you money on your water bill. 

- Clear your drains and gutters.

- Have the number of a qualified emergency plumber to hand in case of emergencies. 

- Check your home insurance covers leaking pipes. 

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