Scottish Water have issued advice to householders on ways to avoid burst pipes damaging property this winter.

The reminder is timely and advises that house owners and businesses should prepare now for any cold weather or flooding.

The key advice is to heat, insulate and protect, no matter whether the property is old or new.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Now is the ideal time to prepare for the possibility of severe weather and the potential impact that has on property. Taking action now can prevent the misery of damage to property and pipes in the months to come.

“By taking steps to heat, insulate and protect properties, customers can avoid the considerable headache and heartache caused by frozen or burst pipes. We want to work with our customers to ensure we are all prepared for whatever winter weather we get.”

Scottish Water is also urging holiday home-owners, whose properties will be occupied by visitors and tourists, to be prepared.

Rob Dickson, Director of Industry and Destination Development at VisitScotland, said: “This winter it is essential that home-owners prepare for the colder months, especially as we seek to extend the visitor season as part of Scotland’s tourism recovery. Unchecked pipes coupled with sudden changes in temperature can be costly. Being winter ready not only gives owners peace of mind but ensures our visitors will have an experience they’ll want to remember.”

The key advice is:

Heat: Warmth offers the best protection against frozen pipes. Modern central heating systems have frost-protection built in, which will fire up the boiler if needed. If you don’t have frost-protection built in to your boiler, then set the heating thermostat to 10C and the programmer to On or 24hr. The heating will only come on if the temperature inside your home drops below 10C, so it shouldn’t use a lot of energy and it could help prevent frozen pipes and expensive repairs. 

Insulate: Pipes don’t like the cold – whether they are outdoor or indoor, metal or plastic, new or old. Making sure pipes and water tanks are properly insulated is one of the simplest, and cheapest, things which can be done to help protect properties from the cold. Make sure that there are no gaps at bends, valves or fitting, and that you use a suitable insulation material. 

Protect: If you are going away, make sure you have someone who can check regularly for any problems. Dripping water increases the risk of freezing, so have any drips or leaks at taps or valves repaired as soon as you discover them, and reduce draughts by fitting draught excluders to doors and windows. If the property is going to be vacant over winter, turn off the water supply and drain the system.

Even when your home or property is winter ready, sometimes damages can happen, so make sure you have adequate buildings and content insurance.

If your home or property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system. A licensed plumber will be able to give advice about this.

Other important winter advice includes tips on finding and using your stop valve, keeping a small emergency pack handy, and be a good neighbour and keep an eye out for your neighbours including the elderly and those who might need additional support.

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