Burst and frozen pipesBurst and frozen pipes can cause problems in your home, especially during the winter.
There are steps you can take to prevent pipes from freezing or bursting.
- keeping your home as warm as possible, even when it is unoccupied
- lagging pipes which are fitted in exposed or draughty areas
- leaving the trap door to your roofspace open to let warm air flow in
- checking to make sure taps are turned off properly, especially late at night
- never using an electric, gas or paraffin heater in your roofspace
- familiarising yourself with your water supply and locating the main stopcock which turns off the supply to your property.
- write down the name and contact details of a SNIPEF (Scotland & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation) registered plumber in case a pipe does burst.
- put hot water bottles or a thick cloth, soaked in hot water, over the frozen pipe
- begin at the end of the pipe (nearest the tap) and work your way along the pipe
- never use a naked flame.
- use the main stopcock to turn off the water supply to your home
- if you can't stop the flow of water, drain the system by opening all your cold taps
- if the burst pipe is in your storage tank, turn off the stop valve (this is inside your storage tank)
- drain the system by turning on all your hot taps, allowing the fire to burn out
- turn your heating off until a plumber has examined the burst pipe.
Northern Ireland WaterYou can also contact Northern Ireland Water on 0845 744 0088. (Northern Ireland Water is only responsible for pipes located outside of your property. For problems with pipes on your property, you should contact your landlord or a plumber).
Northern Ireland Water has also produced a helpful document, Advice on Protecting Your Water Pipes in Winter, which contains information about how to avoid frost damage to your home.
Northern Ireland Housing ExecutiveThe Northern Ireland Housing Executive's district offices and Northern Ireland Water both provide practical advice on how to protect your property from damage during severe cold weather.
Call the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) on 0344 892 0900 to find your nearest district office. (Please note that the NIHE can only deal with enquiries from Housing Executive tenants).