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Burst Pipes are ‘Snow Joke’ – This Winter, Don’t Wait; Insulate!

02 November 2016

NI Water is reminding property owners in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area to protect internal water pipes and fittings in order to prevent bursts in the event of severe weather this winter.

As winter weather sets in, now is the time to think about protecting your pipes – in short, don’t wait; insulate!

Although winters in the last few years have been relatively mild, there is no guarantee that truly severe weather conditions will not return, and if you are unprepared, the misery of burst pipes and flooding could very soon follow.

There are simple procedures the general public can carry out in order to mitigate against winter disaster.  These include knowing where your stop-valve is and keeping the contact number of a registered plumber on hand to deal with any bursts on your property. 

The devastation caused by burst pipes cannot be underestimated.  Not only can the water cause structural damage to a property, but the lasting damage in a home can be to potentially irreplaceable personal items, including photographs and electrical equipment such as tablets, iPads and laptops.

On a wider scale, if you imagine the impact of thousands of litres of water pouring out of burst water pipes, any water distribution network would struggle to maintain continuity of supply in those circumstances.  Insulating your pipework is an essential action to protect your water supply and that of your neighbours.

The advice is simple – don’t wait; insulate! Take action to protect your home or property now and make sure your it’s well protected this winter!  For more information, please see our website, www.niwater.com or contact NI Water via Waterline on 03457 440088.

Top Tips for Properties Include:

  • Ensure pipes are well insulated.
  • Locate your stop valve and make sure everyone in the property knows where it is and how to turn it off.
  • Consider what you would do if you did lose your water supply for a prolonged period of time.  You need to have a contingency plan.
  • If you have a meter(s), know where it is and check it regularly.  A higher than normal meter reading can be the first indicator that you may have a leak.
  • If you own a business and are shutting for a holiday period, you should make plans in the event of cold weather i.e. set your heating timer, have someone check the premises regularly. 
  • Have the number of a plumber who knows where your property is and who is prepared to attend at night if needed. 
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance to cover your property in the event of a burst pipe. 


The impact of a burst pipe:

In January 2011, a single burst pipe in a vacant business property in the greater Belfast area lost over 30 million litres of water.  This was enough to:-

  • Supply a family of 4 with water for 137 years
  • Fill 15 million kettles
  • Make 120 million cups of tea
  • You could have 375,000 baths
  • You could have 850,000 showers
  • Flush a toilet about 3 million times.